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Blues, Avs look to end recent skids

by Deborah Francisco
AVALANCHE (8-6-2) AT BLUES (9-3-3)


Last 10: Avalanche 4-5-1; Blue Jackets 7-2-1

Season Series: This is the first meeting of four between the Blues and Avalanche. Colorado took all four contests between the clubs last season, the last of which was a 5-3 win on March 16 at Scottrade Center.

Big Story: Both squads will have to fill voids in the roster due to injuries suffered last week -- the Blues lost young, enigmatic forward T.J. Oshie while Colorado lost top-line forward TJ Galiardi. Both teams are coming off of a loss as they fight for two points on Monday.

Team Scope:

Avalanche: Colorado is coming off of a two-game road trip in which it went 1-1. The first match was a hard-fought 5-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, while a 3-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings the following night was anything but pretty. In the first two frames Colorado gave up three goals and was unable to recover in the third period.

"They came out really hard, really strong and got a lot of shots in the first," netminder Peter Budaj told the Denver Post. "I felt pretty good, and give a lot of credit to the guys. We battled really hard in the third. In the third period, we took it to them, but it was too late."

Blues: St. Louis is off to the best start in franchise history, however the momentum is beginning to stall as the Blues have lost three straight. St. Louis has given up 16-goals in its last four games, including a season-high three power-play goals in its last contest, a 5-3 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday.

"We waited around to see how this game would be defined, instead of defining play ourselves," coach Davis Payne said.

Who's Hot: Chris Stewart leads the Avalanche with 10 goals and 18 points, but has one goal in his last five games. John-Michael Liles has 12 assists on the season but tallied his first goal on Saturday. ... Andy McDonald tallied in the Blues' last contest and has 9 points on the season, second most on the team.

Injury Report: The Avalanche's IR list seems to be growing weekly. So far it includes David Van Der Gulik (torn ACL), T.J. Galiardi (broken wrist), netminder Craig Anderson (knee), Ryan Wilson (leg), Kyle Quincey (concussion), Kyle Cumiskey (concussion), Peter Mueller (concussion) and David Koci (broken jaw). .. St. Louis is missing three of its top six defenseman in Barret Jackman (sprained knee), Carlo Colaiacovo (concussion) and Roman Polak (wrist). Young guns David Perron (concussion) and T.J. Oshie (broken ankle) top off St. Louis' IR.

Stat Pack: The Blues have gone 1 for 27 on the power play in their last seven games, but the seven teams to visit Denver this season have converted 35.5 percent (11 of 31) with the man advantage.

Puck Drop: Aside from their recent stumbles, Colorado and St. Louis also share in common an All-Star nominated goaltender. Both Anderson and St. Louis' Jaroslav Halak are on the ballot for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game, which opens voting on Monday. While Anderson is sidelined for the showdown, Halak has a valuable opportunity to gain a leg up in the contest.

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