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Avalanche look to stop surging Blues' offense

by Eric Goodman

AVALANCHE (29-41-8) at BLUES (36-33-10)


Last 10:
Colorado 3-7-0; St. Louis 5-4-1

Season series: This is the fourth and final regular-season game between these two clubs. If the Avs can win on Tuesday, it would be their second straight season sweep of St. Louis. Colorado will also aim to extend its winning streak at Scottrade Center to four games.

Big story: Both Colorado and St. Louis have already been eliminated from playoff contention and are looking forward to the 2011 Entry Draft as a means toward beefing up their squads for next season. The Avs will play the remainder of their schedule without second-leading scorer Paul Stastny, who is out with a leg injury. Also, defenseman John-Michael Liles will not travel with the Avs due to a concussion suffered Sunday against the Calgary Flames.

Team Scope:

Avalanche: With only four games left on their schedule and a seven-point lead over the NHL's last-place Edmonton Oilers, the Avs have almost guaranteed themselves staying out of the League's cellar this season. The Stastny and Liles injuries were the latest in a string of ailments that have hit Colorado and were a big reason for the sub-par season.

The Avs will look to bounce back from a tough 2-1 loss against the Calgary Flames on Sunday, in which veteran winger Milan Hejduk tallied the lone goal for Colorado.

Blues: St. Louis has won four of its last six games and tallied 26 goals over those victories. The Blues will try for two wins in a row after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-1 on Sunday. Patrik Berglund scored twice in that game to reach a career-high 22 goals on the season.

Injury report: Besides missing Stastny (leg) for the rest of the season and the recent news about Liles' concussion, the Avs will also be without defensemen Ryan Wilson (knee), Cameron Gaunce (hand) and Adam Foote (leg). … Blues winger David Perron has been listed as out indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms since the beginning of November.

Who's hot:
Hejduk has points in four of his last five games for Colorado, amassing 2 goals and 4 assists over that span. … Right wing Chris Stewart has contributed to the Blues' recent offensive explosion with points in six of his last seven games and a total of 5 goals and 5 assists over that span.

Stat pack: Now that Stastny sat out Sunday's game Colorado has missed 426 man games due to injury so far this season, the most in the organization's history and second in the NHL. That number will increase due to the recent Liles injury.

Puck drop: Former Blues players Erik Johnson and Jay McClement will return to St. Louis for the second time since being traded to Colorado in February. It has been a bit of an adjustment for McClement, after spending 5 1/2 seasons with the Blues, but he is looking forward to settling into the visitor's side of things this time around.

"When you're on the bench and watching the play go on, you're so used to watching all the guys you used to play with, and now all of a sudden you're on the other side," McClement told the Avs' official website. "But it's been a while now, so things should be easier."

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