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Avs continue homestand against Blues

by Brian Compton
BLUES (25-24-9) at AVALANCHE (32-19-6)

Last 10: St. Louis 4-4-2; Colorado 6-4-0.

Season Series: This is the second of four meetings between the teams. Colorado took Round 1 with a 4-0 victory on Dec. 7 at the Scottrade Center. Peter Budaj made 35 saves for his eighth career shutout, while Chris Stewart scored twice.

Big Story: Despite how well the Vancouver Canucks have played as of late -- they've won eight of 10 -- the Avalanche are still very much alive in the Northwest Division race. Joe Sacco's club enters Monday's action just two points behind first-place Vancouver.

Team Scope:

Blues: St. Louis has one victory in three tries this month and is coming off a 2-1 loss on home ice against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night. The Blues had chances -- including a 41-second two-man advantage, but failed to get more than one puck past Antti Niemi.

"I thought we had very good energy and I thought there was good, physical play early on in that period," Blues coach Davis Payne said. "The disappointing part in the middle there was our execution of the 5-on-3. We have some situations where we want to go to. We've got to make sure we stick to the plan."

Avalanche: Craig Anderson -- perhaps the most underrated free-agent signing last summer -- stopped all 20 shots he faced on Saturday night in a 3-0 win against the Edmonton Oilers. It was the first of a four-game homestand for the Avs.

"My job is to make sure they don't get one," said Anderson, who has six shutouts this season. "You don't want to be the reason you lose."

Who's Hot: All the talk last June was about New York Islanders rookie John Tavares, but Matt Duchene, who was taken third overall by the Avalanche in the same draft, leads the club with 18 goals. He's earned points in four of his last five games.

Injury Report: Blues forward B.J. Crombeen is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. … Avs forward Ryan O'Reilly is questionable after suffering a bruised foot during Saturday's game, while Milan Hejduk (knee), Matt Hendricks (ankle), David Jones (knee), Ruslan Salei (back) and Ryan Stoa (shoulder) are all out.

Stat Pack: Blues forward David Perron is donating $1 for every new follower he attracts on Twitter this month. After the first two days, his donation was more than $3,000.

Puck Drop: "When we made this change, we gave him the opportunity to prove himself. And that's what we're in the middle of right now. He deserved it. This isn't charity. He knew our players after running our orientation camps with the young players the past couple of years. We felt he was the right guy, and we think he can do the job." -- Blues President John Davidson on Davis Payne

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