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Home Stretch Opens With Matinee Against Blues

It is the third of four meetings between the Central Division rivals this season

by Miranda Einhorn / ColoradoAvalanche.com

Returning home from a win at the Winnipeg Jet, the Colorado Avalanche (23-23-11) takes on the St. Louis Blues (29-22-5) at Pepsi Center on Saturday afternoon. It is the third of four contests between the Central Division rivals this season, and the series will wrap up in St. Louis on April 1.

Colorado holds a 47-35-12 all-time record against the Blues since 1995-96, which includes a 28-13-7 mark at home. Both matchups between the clubs this season have gone into overtime.

Following the outing, the Avalanche will remain in Denver to take on the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday and the Jets on Wednesday.

Last Time Out

Thursday was a milestone night for several Avs. Dominic Toninato scored his first NHL goal, and Gabriel Landeskog notched his 30th tally of a season for the first time in his career during the 4-1 victory over the Jets. J.T. Compher also lit the lamp while shorthanded for the third time this season, tied for fourth-most in the league. Matt Nieto added two assists in the victory, his second coming on a marker from Sven Andrighetto that rounded out the scoring in the third period. Colorado outshot Winnipeg 35-25 as goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 24 saves.

The Blues also put up four goals on Valentine's Day to shutout the Arizona Coyotes 4-0 and earning their eighth straight win, the club's longest streak since 2002. Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals in the victory and was joined in the goal department by Joel Edmundson and Robert Bortuzzo, who each sent one past Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper. Blues netminder Jordan Binnington stopped all 21 shots he faced to earn his third shutout of the year and seventh win in a row.

Last Time They Met

The Avalanche fell 4-3 to the Blues in overtime at Enterprise Center on Dec. 14. Colton Parayko recorded the first tally of the matchup in the opening frame, but the marker was quickly answered with Colorado goals from Andrighetto and Matt Calvert. Ivan Barbashev retied the game for the St. Louis just before the end of the period. Parayko marked the scoresheet again in the third stanza to give the Blues a brief lead, but Compher capitalized on a power play to send the battle into overtime. In the end, Ryan O'Reilly lit the lamp 2:05 into the extra period to gain the two points for St. Louis. The Avs outshot the Blues 42-28 as Philipp Grubauer stopped 24-of-28 pucks.

What To Watch

Av-ternoon

Saturday's game is scheduled for 1 p.m. MT, marking the eighth afternoon game this season for the Avalanche (starting 5 p.m. local time or earlier). Colorado, which will play 13 such outings in 2018-19, is 3-2-2 in early-start contests this year and 1-1-0 at home. The Avs will play in five more daytime outings this year, which includes three more at Pepsi Center.

Good Things Come in Three

Andrighetto's tally on Thursday marked the 72nd goal scored this year by the Avalanche in the final period, third-most in the league. Landeskog is first in the NHL with 17 goals in the third frame this season while Mikko Rantanen lands second in the league with 32 points (eight goals, 24 assists) generated in the concluding stanza.

Players To Watch

Colorado: Left Wing Matt Nieto

Nieto recorded two assists in Thursday's clash, his second multi-point game of the season. The forward has produced 19 points (four goals, 15 assists) in 54 matchups so far during the 2018-19 campaign and is two helpers shy of matching his career high (17 in 2014-15 with San Jose Sharks). The Long Beach, California, native reached the scoresheet in both outings against the Blues this season (two assists) and has racked up four points (two goals, two assists) in 16 career games against St. Louis.

St. Louis: Right Wing Vladimir Tarasenko

With two goals in the Blues' previous outing on Thursday, Tarasenko extended his point streak to 10 games (nine goals, eight assists), a career high. The forward has found the back of the net six times in the past four games and is four points shy of reaching 400 total career points. The 6-foot right wing is second on the team with 46 points this season (24 goals, 22 assists) and has generated 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) over 28 career games against Colorado.

The Details

Saturday's matchup between the Avalanche and Blues is slated for 1 p.m. MT. The game can be watched locally on Altitude and streamed on select devices with the AltitudeNOW 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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