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game preview

Avalanche at Blues preview

Colorado could claim first wild card in West; St. Louis looks to gain ground in race

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

AVALANCHE (37-24-8) at BLUES (37-27-5)

8 p.m. ET; FS-MW, ALT2, NHL.TV


The Game

The Colorado Avalanche can take over the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with at least one point against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center on Thursday.

The Avalanche, 5-0-3 in their past eight games, trail the Dallas Stars by one point and the Minnesota Wild by three points for third place in the Central Division.

The Blues, looking to win their third straight game for the first time since Jan. 23-30, trail the Avalanche by three points for the second wild card and are four points behind the Stars.

Defenseman Joel Edmundson returns for the Blues after missing five weeks with a fractured right forearm sustained against the Avalanche on Feb. 8.


Players to watch

Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon has a nine-game point streak (eight goals, nine assists).

Blues center Ivan Barbashev has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past four games after scoring three goals in his previous 19 games.


They said it

"We're having a great time just competing and in the hunt here. We want to make the playoffs and we've put ourselves in a position where we have a good chance to and that's the goal. We're enjoying every game." -- Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie

"Coming to the rink this morning I was 50-50 if I was going to play or not, but I got a good warmup in, had a good practice and I decided I'll play tonight." -- Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Sven Andrighetto -- Tyson Jost -- J.T. Compher

Matt Nieto -- Carl Soderberg -- Blake Comeau

Alexander Kerfoot -- Dominic Toninato -- Gabriel Bourque

Nikita Zadorov -- Tyson Barrie

Patrik Nemeth -- Samuel Girard

Duncan Siemens -- David Warsofsky

Semyon Varlamov

Spencer Martin

Scratched: Anton Lindholm, Mark Alt, Nail Yakupov

Injured: Mark Barberio (upper body), Andrew Hammond (concussion), Erik Johnson (upper body), Colin Wilson (concussion), Jonathan Bernier (concussion)


Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Brayden Schenn -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Patrik Berglund -- Kyle Brodziak -- Alexander Steen

Dmitrij Jaskin -- Vladimir Sobotka -- Tage Thompson

Nikita Soshnikov -- Ivan Barbashev -- Chris Thorburn

Carl Gunnarsson -- Alex Pietrangelo

Vince Dunn -- Colton Parayko

Joel Edmundson -- Robert Bortuzzo

Jake Allen

Ville Husso

Scratched: Jordan Schmaltz, Oskar Sundqvist

Injured: Carter Hutton (neck), Scottie Upshall (knee)


Status report

Varlamov will make his 15th straight appearance. ... Hutton had an MRI on his injured neck Wednesday but Blues coach Mike Yeo was hopeful it wasn't serious.


Stat pack

Barrie has a seven-game point streak (four goals, six assists) and 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in his past 11 games. ... Allen is 2-1-0 with a 1.68 goals-against average and .948 save percentage in his past three starts.

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