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Avalanche and Blues Meet for the First Time This Season

Colroado wraps up a two-game homestand against St. Louis

by Dan Vatch / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche (15-6-4) has earned at least a point in its last nine matchups and looks to close out the month of November on a high note against the Central Division rival St. Louis Blues (8-12-3) at 7 p.m. MT at Pepsi Center on Friday.

Colorado holds a 47-35-10 mark all-time against the Blues (since 1995-96), including a 28-13-6 record at home. In five games last season, the Avs went 2-3-0 versus St. Louis. Mikko Rantanen (two goals, four assists) and Gabriel Landeskog (one goal, five assists) each registered six points in those outings to share the team lead.

The contest is the first of four matchups between the two clubs this campaign, with both teams hosting two games.

After the clash against the Blues, the Avalanche will take to the road for four games against Eastern Conference opponents before returning home on Dec. 11 to host the Edmonton Oilers.

Last Time Out

The Avs never trailed in a 6-3 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. Two defensemen got the scoring underway for Colorado as Samuel Girard netted a goal in the first period and Erik Johnson added a marker in the second. Colin Wilson recorded his seventh of the year to push the lead to 3-0 before Sidney Crosby answered for the Penguins with a natural hat trick. Gabriel Landeskog put the Avalanche in front for good when he reached the back of the net at the 10:05 mark of the third. Nathan MacKinnon added an empty-net goal, his 18th marker of the year, and Carl Soderberg tallied just 13 seconds after to seal the win. Colorado netminder Philipp Grubauer recorded 22 saves in the victory and has earned the win in his last five starts to push his record to 9-5-2 this season.

The Blues dropped a 4-3 decision to the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. The Red Wings jumped out to a 3-0 lead before St. Louis countered with three goals of their own. David Perron and Vladimir Tarasenko each netted a power-play tally in the second period to cut the deficit to 3-2. Perron added the equalizer with his second of the night at the 8:04 mark of the final frame, but the Red Wings got the game-winner from Todd Bertuzzi, his second in the game. St. Louis goaltender Jake Allen turned away 27 shots in the loss.

Last Time They Met

With a 5-2 victory over the Blues in the final game of the 2018-19 season, the Avalanche clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Samuel Girard and Tyson Barrie tallied the first two goals of the matchup to put the Avs ahead 2-0. Jaden Schwartz cut the lead in half for the Blues before Nathan MacKinnon added his 39th marker of the year. In the final frame, Gabriel Landeskog pushed the Colorado lead to 4-1 with an empty-net goal. The Blues answered with a marker from Brayden Schenn, but Matt Nieto capped the game with another empty-netter. The victory sealed the first trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for Colorado since the 2013-14 season.

What To Watch

Offensive Leaders

Colorado leads the NHL with a 3.8 goals-per-game average and is tied for first with a plus-26 goal differential (Toronto). Through 13 games this month, the Avalanche owns an 8-3-2 record, taking 18 of a possible 26 points in those games while scoring 54 total goals, 13 more than in October. The Avs are second in the league with 95 total tallies and are the NHL leaders with 39 third period markers. 

First Two to 40

With one goal and three helpers against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Nathan MacKinnon joined linemate Mikko Rantanen as the first two players in the league to reach the 40-point mark this season. Rantanen paces the league with 42 points (10 goals, 32 assists) while MacKinnon ranks second with 41 points (18 goals, 23 assists) on the year.

Players To Watch

St. Louis: Center Ryan O'Reilly

The Clinton, Ontario, native extended his point streak (two goals, two assists) to three games with a helper against the Red Wings on Wednesday. O'Reilly paces the Blues in scoring this season with 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists), eight more than his next closest teammate. The 27-year-old center has won 60.4 percent of his faceoffs, the second highest in the league among skaters with at least 100 draws this year. The Avs second-round selection (33rd overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft, O'Reilly spent six seasons in Colorado totaling 246 points (90 goals, 156 assists) in 427 games played.

Colorado: Center Nathan MacKinnon

With three assists and a goal in the win against the Penguins, Nathan MacKinnon extended his current point streak to six games (six goals, nine assists). The four-point outburst was his 14th multi-point outing of the year. The Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, native has more games with three or more points (six) than games in which he has been held off the scoresheet (five).

The Details

Friday's Division Rival Night between the Avalanche and Blues is scheduled for 7 p.m. MT. The game can be watched live locally on Altitude 2 TV or streamed on select devices with the Altitude Now app (in market) or NHL.tv (out of market). The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio FM 92.5 in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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