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Avalanche aim to play spoiler again vs. Blues

by Deborah Francisco /

AVALANCHE (15-23-7) at BLUES (26-17-2)


Last 10: Colorado 3-4-3, St. Louis 7-3-0

Season series: This is the third of three meetings. The Colorado Avalanche are going for a season-series sweep of the St. Louis Blues.

Big Story: This contest will conclude a home-and-home series between these two Western Conference rivals. The Avalanche dashed the Blues’ hopes of clinching a playoff berth with a 5-3 win on Sunday in Denver.

Team Scope:

Avalanche: With just three regular-season games remaining, the Avalanche will play two road games before returning to the Pepsi Center to conclude the season at home against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. Colorado looks to pay spoiler to the Blues for the second straight game after Jamie McGinn’s three-point performance on Sunday fueled Colorado’s 5-3 victory.

“(McGinn) was hard to play against tonight,” Colorado coach Joe Sacco told the team’s official website. “Ginner is at his best when he is physical, when he finishes his checks, when he unnerves the opposition a little bit. He can shoot it and when he gets an opportunity he can bury it, he did it in his second goal. His first goal was a lucky bounce, but you go to the net and you get rewarded.”

It was McGinn’s third multi-point game of his career and second since donning an Avalanche sweater on Feb. 27, 2012.

Colorado killed off three St. Louis power plays on Sunday, extending its penalty kill streak at home to five straight games (16-for16). Colorado ranks first in the NHL in home penalty killing percentage at 92.1 percent (82-for-89).

Blues: St. Louis would certainly like to bounce back from a 5-3 loss to the Avalanche by defeating them on home ice Tuesday. The Blues’ three remaining regular-season games will be played on home ice.

"We didn't have one of our better games today," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We just have to regroup and get ready for Tuesday. Wasn't one of our better games. I thought our first 10 minutes were good. After that, not very good. We made too many errors in our own zone, too many mistakes with the puck in our own zone that ended up in our net."

Who's hot: Avalanche goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere recorded his 251st career win Sunday, surpassing Hall-of-Famer Johnny Bower (250) to move into 45th place on the all-time wins list. … Blues center David Backes has three points (one goal, two assists) in as many games, including a pair of points in the Blues’ loss Sunday. He boasts a team best in assists with 20 on the season.

Injury report: Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson has missed the past four games with a hand injury and is questionable for Tuesday. ... The Blues are without forwards Scott Nichol (lower body), T.J. Oshie (foot), Jamie Langenbrunner (hip) and goalie Jaroslav Halak (lower body).

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