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Avalanche Looks To Build On Victory

Colorado gets ready for the Minnesota after defeating St. Louis on Friday

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

CENTENNIAL, Colo.--It may not have always shown on the final score, but the Colorado Avalanche had been building solid efforts over its last couple games, and the team was finally rewarded Friday night.

The Avs' shootout victory over the St. Louis Blues may not have been a perfect 60-minute game, but they stuck with their game plan and went chance for chance with their Central Division foe.

"I know that we haven't got some results in some games that we've played pretty well," said head coach Jared Bednar on Saturday. "We've made some mental mistakes and some penalties have killed us, especially in the third period as of late, but you look at some games like last night, it was a similar game to when St. Louis was here before, we just finished the job. We're making some progress there even though statistically, it might not look like it. We see it within our group."

Colorado had a strong second half to the contest, outshooting St. Louis 27-15 in the last 45 minutes. The squad also had big penalty kills at the end of the second and midway through the third to keep the contest tied 1-1 and give it a chance for the victory.

"It's been a while since we've had a good third period," said Matt Nieto. "We definitely wanted to come out strong and fast, and I think we did just that. We forced it to overtime and a shootout, and we came out with the win, so it was nice."

The Avs will look to build on their hard work on Sunday as they take on the Minnesota Wild in a quick one-game trip.

Calvin Pickard will get the start in the net for Colorado in its last matchup of the season at Xcel Energy Center after making 27 saves versus the Blues.

According to Bednar, the team will use the exact same lineup as it did on Friday. Forwards Joe Colborne and John Mitchell and defensemen Cody Goloubef and Patrick Wiercioch are expected to be healthy scratches.

Video: Coach Bednar's post-practice press conference

Rookie Tyson Jost, who made his NHL debut against St. Louis, finally took part in his first team practice on Saturday morning at Family Sports Center. The former University of North Dakota product signed his entry-level contract on Wednesday night but only had brief skates after practice on Thursday and Friday morning in preparation for his first contest.

"I think he got better yesterday as the game went on, but he hasn't seen a whole lot of ice time last week," Bednar said of the Avalanche's 2016 first-round draft pick. "He slipped out on the ice for 20 minutes on the day he got his physical and then he went out a little bit yesterday morning, so to get out with the group a little bit and feel more comfortable around them and in a team setting I think is going to be good for him."

Jost will once again center a line, likely with wings Rene Bourque and Matt Nieto, whom he was paired with on Friday.

The Wild entered Saturday's contest at the Nashville Predators with a 2-7-2 record since March 12. Colorado and Minnesota will meet again on April 6 in Denver.

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