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Preview: Avalanche at Blues

Goalie Semyon Varlamov to start for Colorado; Jake Allen goes for St. Louis

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

AVALANCHE (5-5-0) at BLUES (6-4-2)

5 p.m. ET; FS-MW, ALT, NHL.TV

Avalanche team scope

Goalie Semyon Varlamov will start for the Colorado Avalanche after Calvin Pickard had a 32-save shutout Saturday against the Minnesota Wild in a 1-0 win. "We're kind of setting our goalie plan week-to-week," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said after the game. "Because of the history with the situation, [Varlamov] is getting a good opportunity early here. We're not setting our schedule month-by-month or the season, we're looking at it week-to-week and we went into this week where we were going to go [Varlamov], [Pickard] and back to [Varlamov]. We want to play rested goalies in back-to-backs because we believe in both of them." The victory came two days after they were shut out for the third time in nine games when they lost 4-0 to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday. The Avalanche are 29th in the NHL at 2.10 goals per game. "Our guys stuck with it and stuck with it and we kept working hard," Bednar said. "The compete level was where it needed to be from all of our guys. I don't think we had any passengers [Saturday]." Avalanche right wing Jarome Iginla will skate in his 1,485th NHL game, moving past Rod Brind'Amour for 19th place on the all-time list. Iginla needs to play three more games to tie Wayne Gretzky for 18th place.


Blues team scope

The St. Louis Blues will wait until after the pregame warmup to determine which forwards will play. "We'll take 14 forwards into warmup because of some injuries sustained [Saturday]," coach Ken Hitchcock said of a 2-1 overtime win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. "We won't know until we finish the warmup. All 14 will skate and then we'll decide. If the lineup is sustained from [Saturday], then we'll stay the same. If not, we'll make quite a few changes, so we'll let you know through warmup. You'll be able to see it when we put them out there." Goalie Jake Allen, who has given up nine goals on 46 shots the past two starts, will start. "He's like the rest of our team, we are going to need really good play from him," Hitchcock said. "It's one notch at a time. He went from being the first star of the game to like our team, not playing as well as we were." St. Louis hasn't scored more than two goals the past six games, and eight of nine, since Oct. 22. "When you're not scoring, it's frustrating because it's a lot of hard work," said defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who scored the tying goal in the third period Saturday. "The theme is if we keep sticking with it, it'll happen." The Blues play the second of a three-game homestand. They are 4-1-1 on home ice this season.


Avalanche projected lineup

Mikko Rantanen -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Matt Duchene

Gabriel Landeskog -- Carl Soderberg -- Jarome Iginla

Rene Bourque -- Mikhail Grigorenko -- Blake Comeau

Andreas Martinsen -- John Mitchell -- Joe Colborne

Nikita Zadorov -- Erik Johnson

Francois Beauchemin -- Tyson Barrie

Patrick Wiercioch -- Fedor Tyutin

Semyon Varlamov

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Eric Gelinas, Cody McLeod

Injured: None


Blues projected lineup

Alexander Steen -- Patrik Berglund -- David Perron

Jaden Schwartz -- Jori Lehtera -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Robby Fabbri -- Paul Stastny -- Nail Yakupov

Scottie Upshall -- Kyle Brodziak -- Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester -- Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Joel Edmundson -- Colton Parayko

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Dmitrij Jaskin, Ty Rattie

Injured: Robert Bortuzzo (lower body)


Status report

Hitchcock said Bortuzzo, who is on injured reserve, will skate with the training staff during an off day Monday and be reevaluated. ... If Yakupov, a healthy scratch Saturday for the first time this season, gets into the lineup, Jaskin is the likely candidate to be scratched Sunday. ... The Avalanche aren't expected to make any lineup changes aside from Varlamov.


Who's hot

Iginla has 74 points (29 goals, 45 assists) in 74 games against the Blues. ... Landeskog has three goals this season, but two are game-winning goals, including Saturday. ... Tarasenko has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 16 games against the Avalanche. 

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