The Colorado Avalanche heads to the St. Louis Blues after a winning weekend in Florida, defeating the Florida Panthers 5-4 in overtime and the Tampa Bay Lighting 6-2. Colorado is the only team still undefeated in regulation this year and its 7-0-1 start this season is the best through eight games in franchise history.
Continuing to lead the team with 11 points each are right wing Mikko Rantanen (five goals, six assists) and Nathan MacKinnon (four goals, seven assists). They are followed by newcomer Andre Burakovsky, who has eight points (four goals, four assists) in eight games as an Av.
St. Louis is 3-2-3 to start the year after playing half of its games on the road. The matchup against Colorado is the third of a four-game homestand for the Blues who are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
It is the first of five contests between the Avalanche and Blues this season and the first of two in St. Louis.
Avalanche at St. Louis Blues
Enterprise Center | St. Louis, Mo.
COLORADO-ST. LOUIS CONNECTIONS
Erik Johnson (first overall in 2006) and Ian Cole (18th overall in 2007) were both first-round draft picks for the Blues and both began their NHL careers in St. Louis… Blues center Ryan O'Reilly was the Avs second-round (33rd overall) selections at the 2009 NHL Draft and began his career in Colorado… St. Louis forward Jaden Schwartz played two seasons at Colorado College (2010-2012)… Avs assistant coach Ray Bennett spent 10 seasons on the Blues' coaching staff... Jared Bednar was the head coach of St. Louis' then American Hockey League affiliate in Peoria for two seasons (2010-2012).
The Avs hold a 61-61-18 all-time record against the Blues, including a 23-38-8 record as the visiting team. The teams faced off four times last season with three of the four games ending in overtime losses for Colorado, two coming on the Blues' home ice.
Forwards Gabriel Landeskog, J.T. Compher, and Mikko Rantanen all recorded two points (one goal, one assist) in the 2018-19 campaign against St. Louis. Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Nieto also had two points with two assists each.
The Avs did not practice on Sunday, but the lineup is expected to be the same as it was on Saturday at Tampa Bay with Mark Barberio, Vladislav Kamenev and Valeri Nichushkin being the scratches.
The Avalanche was full healthy during Saturday's game against the Lightning.
SCOUTING THE BLUES
The Blues are 3-2-3 so far this year after a 5-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. St. Louis has nine points, putting the club in a third-place tie with the Nashville Predators in the Central Division behind Colorado and the Winnipeg Jets.
The Blues won their first Stanley Cup last season after defeating the Boston Bruins in seven games. St. Louis was in last place in the NHL on Jan. 2, making it the first club to sit last in the overall standings at any point after its 30th game and rebound to win the Stanley Cup.
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: Vladimir Tarasenko
Vladimir Tarasenko tallied four points (three goals, one assist) in the four games versus Colorado in the 2018-19 season, tying center Ryan O'Reilly for the most points against the Avs.
Tarasenko has seven points (two goals, five assists) this season, tied for the second most points for St. Louis after eight games, and is currently on a four-game point streak (two goals, three assists).
Tarasenko played his 500th NHL game on Oct. 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. In his career, he has recorded 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 30 outings against Colorado.
Tyson Jost recorded his first career NHL hat trick on Saturday against the Lightning. Jost scored three goals before the halfway mark of the second period in Florida.
Nathan MacKinnon has tallied at least one point in each of the eight contests this season. He has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) on the year and recorded multi-point games against the Minnesota Wild, Boston Bruins, and Washington Capitals. With a goal or assist at St. Louis, he can equal the Avs record (since 1995-96) for the longest scoring streak to start a season, a mark he and Mikko Rantanen tied last year.
Netminder Pavel Francouz got his second start this season in Saturday's 6-2 win at Tampa Bay. He is now 2-0-0 and has a .951 save percentage for the year.
Colorado is now more than halfway through its season-long, six-game road trip with a 3-0-1 record…The Avs have 15 points so far and are tied for the most points in the NHL with the 7-1-1 Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers…Avs blueliner Ian Cole is tied for the league lead with a plus-10 rating after playing four games…Colorado will finish its road trip against the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday.