CENTENNIAL, Colo.--The Colorado Avalanche returns to the Mile High City having earned points in four of its last five games.
The Avs defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 at Bell MTS Place on Thursday and will look to get the same result on Saturday in a matinee meeting with the St. Louis Blues.
Thursday's win marked the fourth consecutive game on the road for Colorado in which the team has earned at least one point. In the outing, Dominic Toninato scored his first NHL goal, Gabriel Landeskog netted his 30th marker of the season and J.T. Compher added a short-handed tally while Semyon Varlamov made 24 saves for the Avs.
"That is the type of game that can give a team confidence. Not just the fact that we won in Winnipeg, but just how we won," said head coach Jared Bednar. "I think there was so many good things about our game last night… The detail in our game was really good. The intangibles, the guys blocking shots and the extra effort that you need in battles to win puck battles. You got to make plays on top of all that--we had some guys make some plays both on the offensive side of things and the defensive side of things.
"A lot to build off, it was a pretty solid game. Goaltending was really good, it should give our team a lot of confidence--especially when you do that against the Jets at home--that we can do that against anyone, especially on our home ice. In my opinion, we played four really strong games on the road now, we got points in four straight on the road, and now we got to bring that to our home game."
The matchup with St. Louis opens a three-game homestand for Colorado, as the squad will also host the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday and Winnipeg on Wednesday.
It is the third of four meetings during the 2018-19 campaign between the Avalanche and Blues. The Avs lost each of the first two contests, both in overtime, and the season series will wrap up on April 1 in Missouri.
St. Louis is one of the hottest teams in the league right now, having won eight in a row and is 9-1-0 in its last 10 outings.
"They have been on fire lately, a team that we are kind of neck and neck with, fighting for a playoff spot with," said Avalanche forward Matt Nieto. "A division rival, it is going to be a huge game for us. I think we are going to have some momentum after the game last night, and we are going to need everybody again. It is going to be a hard task."
After a 40-minute practice at Family Sports Center, Bednar gave injury updates on some of his players.
Veteran forward Colin Wilson has missed the last two games since suffering an upper-body injury on Sunday at the Boston Bruins but could be moving in a positive direction.
"[Wilson] skated today on his own," said Bednar. "We will see how he feels tomorrow and see if he progressed to be able to skate with the team or with a small group, just depending on how he gets through today."
Bednar did not have an update on rear guard Ian Cole, who last played on Feb. 7 at the Washington Capitals. Defenseman Mark Barberio (head) was a full-contact participant in the practice session, while fellow blueliner Conor Timmins (head) continues to don a red, non-contact jersey during drills.
Timmins, who has been on the club's injured non-roster list since the start of the season, has spent time recently with the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League to log some more team practices while the Avalanche has been out of town.
"He has been cleared for some contact for a few weeks now, so he has had contact with us even before the break and before he got sick," Bednar said of Timmins. "He has been doing contact up with the Eagles as well. He is just not in a regular jersey because he is not cleared for full contact because he still has some days that are worse than others."
Rookie forward Sheldon Dries was absent from practice as he continues to recover from an illness that forced him to miss Thursday's contest in Winnipeg.
Forward Dominic Toninato on his first NHL goal: "Definitely a lot of excitement, it has been a long time coming so it was nice to finally get that first one. Most importantly we got the team win. Obviously, we have been in a slump lately, so it was nice to get a win like that on the road against such a good team."
Video: Dominic Toninato on his first career NHL goal
Forward Matt Nieto on division games: "They are huge, any time you are playing division teams it is a four-point swing. It is important for us to get as many points as we can, it is a tough schedule. We are going to need everybody, and it is basically playoff hockey from here on out."
Video: Matt Nieto on the Avs facing the Blues
Head Coach Jared Bednar on A.J. Greer's play in Winnipeg: "In my opinion, that was his best performance in the NHL that I have seen. I liked a lot of the things that he did. He played physical, but didn't run out of his way to finish checks. He was involved emotionally and physically, not just during the play, but after the whistles a little bit which we needed."
Video: Bednar on the win vs. the Jets & facing the Blues