DENVER - With three meetings over a 17-day span, there’s a good chance the temperature gets cranked up between the Blues and Avalanche, who will play for the second time in 11 days tonight at Pepsi Center (7 p.m., NBCSN, KMOX).
“You start to remember some of the little things that happen during a game,” Blues captain David Backes said. “Not that vengeance is the first thing on your list, but it adds to your emotions and how much fire you’ve got in your soul to get going. It’s going to be a furious start at elevation. They play as fast as anyone and we’ve got to keep pace.”
Last week, T.J. Oshie scored the game-winning goal just over a minute into overtime, helping the Blues to a 3-2 win and their third straight victory against the Avalanche. The Blues have won six of the last seven meetings between the teams, which will meet again Monday in St. Louis.
“(They’re) a fast, exciting team. We had a real close game in here last time,” Blues defenseman Barret Jackman said. “We expect a close checking game and we need a full 60 minutes out of our squad. When we get the lead, we need to put our foot on their throat and finish it.”
“When you play a team five times a year, you have a great rivalry that seems to be heating up,” Backes added. “Those are the kinds of games that we need to thrive in. We’ve got a great test before Christmas and we’ll see how it all pans out.”
The Blues will stick with the same lineup they had in San Jose, which includes Jake Allen in goal.
END ON A GOOD NOTE
On the three-game road trip, the Blues are 0-1-1 and are looking to head into the holiday break with a victory tonight.
In the previous two games, the Blues had third period leads (4-3 in Los Angeles on Dec. 18 and 2-1 in San Jose on Dec. 20) but ended up without two points in both.
“I don’t think we’re too thrilled with the way the road trip has gone so far,” Jackman said. “We get two points tonight and get off the road trip at .500, we’ll be able to salvage it and go into the holiday break with a bit of a high.”
“We’ve squandered a few opportunities on this road trip and and we need to show that we’ve learned lessons from that,” Backes added. “If we get a lead, we need to play smart hockey, keep it and make sure we play a full 60 minutes.
“Fifty-nine minutes and 40 seconds isn’t enough to get the job done.”
Blues forwards T.J. Oshie (28) and Jori Lehtera (27) are both celebrating birthdays today.
Alex Pietrangelo enters tonight’s game on a seven-game point streak (one goal, six assists).
Jake Allen is 3-0-1 in his last four games. In two career appearances against Colorado, Allen is 1-0-0 with a 2.15 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage.
Paul Stastny played his first 538 games with the Avalanche and ranks eighth in Colorado / Quebec franchise history with 458 points (160 goals and 298 assists).