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Blues, Avalanche attempt to get back on winning side

by Brian Hunter

AVALANCHE (14-3-0) at BLUES (11-2-3)


Last 10: Colorado 8-2-0; St. Louis 6-1-3

Season series: This is the first of four meetings between the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues. The home team won all three games last season, two of them going to the Avalanche. The Blues did clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-1 win in the most recent matchup at Scottrade Center on April 23.

Big story: Each team is looking to avoid a losing streak. The Avalanche, who come off a 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, haven't dropped consecutive games this season. The Blues, defeated 3-2 by the Phoenix Coyotes in overtime Tuesday, have lost two in a row on one prior occasion, but earned a point in each of those instances.

Team Scope:

Avalanche: Despite putting 34 shots on net, including a career-high nine from rookie Nathan MacKinnon and five from Matt Duchene, Colorado could only put one puck past Justin Peters and saw its six-game road win streak to begin the season go by the wayside.

Paul Stastny's power-play goal with 5:26 left in the second period put the Avalanche in position to at least salvage a point, but they never found the equalizer. A slow start was partially to blame for the defeat; the Hurricanes recorded 11 of the game's first 13 shots before the Avalanche began to control play.

"I think we played good enough to win," coach Patrick Roy said in The Denver Post. "We just have to get ready for the next one. Our motto is the same: One day at a time."

Blues: An Oliver Ekman-Larsson goal prevented St. Louis from setting the highest point total in franchise history through 16 games, but the Blues didn't come away empty-handed thanks to Roman Polak's game-tying goal early in the third period. Maxim Lapierre opened the scoring in the first, extending his point streak to three games.

"Our first focus is to play with good intensity and play strong defensively," Lapierre said in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Personally I would like to focus on coming back to the player I was about three or four years ago when I had that 15-goal season [for the Montreal Canadiens].

"Obviously I'm not expecting to score 15 goals every season, but maybe just play with the same confidence offensively with the puck and read the play better. I feel since the game in Montreal, I kind of feel that way. I felt like I was more relaxed with the puck and I see the ice better."

Who's hot: Stastny has three goals and one assist during a four-game point streak. … Blues forward Alexander Steen had the primary assist on Polak's goal to extend his point streak to 11 games, with 10 goals and four assists in that span.

Injury report: Colorado defenseman Ryan Wilson (back) and forward Alex Tanguay (knee) are out. … St. Louis defenseman Jordan Leopold (hand) and forward Magnus Paajarvi (upper body) are on injured reserve.

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