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Preview: Blues at Avalanche

St. Louis needs one point to clinch playoff berth; Tyson Jost makes NHL debut for Colorado

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Correspondent

BLUES (42-28-6) at AVALANCHE (20-53-3)

9 p.m. ET; ALT, FS-MW, NHL.TV

 

Blues team scope

The St. Louis Blues can clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a point against the Colorado Avalanche or if the Los Angeles Kings lose to the Vancouver Canucks. It would be the Blues' sixth consecutive trip to the playoffs and 41st in their 50-year history. They are third in the Central Division, one point ahead of the Nashville Predators; each team has five games remaining after Friday. "We've been working really hard for it," forward Patrik Berglund said. "We put ourselves in a really good spot after a pretty up-and-down, roller-coaster ride of a season. As of late, we've been playing great. It's a really good feeling, but we have to keep building because the playoffs are around the corner now." The Blues are 18-7-1 since Mike Yeo was named coach Feb. 1 and 11-1-1 in their past 13 games, allowing 19 goals in this stretch. "Our goal has slowly started to shift to making sure our game is ready once we start the playoffs," Yeo said. "If we do that, if we're playing the right way and have the right habits in our game, the wins will take care of themselves." Goalie Jake Allen will start. He needs one win to become the first Blues goalie to have more than 30 wins since Chris Osgood won 31 games in 2003-04. Allen is 4-0-1 in his past five starts and is 8-1-1 in his past 10.

 

Avalanche team scope

Colorado Avalanche forward Tyson Jost is expected to make his NHL debut and center a line with left wing Gabriel Landeskog and right wing Matt Duchene. Jost, 19, was the Avalanche's first-round pick (No. 10) in the 2016 NHL Draft. He signed a three-year, entry-level contract Wednesday after completing his freshman season at the University of North Dakota, where he had 35 points (16 goals, 19 assists) in 33 games. "I've dreamed about this my whole life, of playing in the NHL, and it was right there in front of me and I thought why not take it. This is my dream," Jost said. "I want to be a part of the rebuild, and I want to do whatever I can to help this team in that rebuild stage. Obviously they're struggling a little bit, but I think I can bring some energy and some pace into this lineup. I'm still very honored and happy to be part of this organization." The plan is for Jost to play in all six remaining games. "It's an exciting time for him," coach Jared Bednar said. "It's an exciting time for us, to get him in here and get him to join our group. We'll make him feel as relaxed as we possibly can and then brush him up, not give him too much to think about going into his first couple games." The Avalanche have lost seven consecutive games and nine of the past 10 (1-9-0). Goalie Calvin Pickard will start.

 

Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Alexander Steen -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Magnus Paajarvi -- Patrik Berglund -- David Perron

Zach Sanford -- Ivan Barbashev -- Nail Yakupov

Scottie Upshall -- Kyle Brodziak -- Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester -- Alex Pietrangelo

Joel Edmundson -- Colton Parayko

Robert Bortuzzo -- Jordan Schmaltz

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Scratched: None

Injured: Robby Fabbri (knee), Carl Gunnarsson (lower body), Dmitrij Jaskin (upper body), Jori Lehtera (upper body), Paul Stastny (lower body)

 

Avalanche projected lineup

Sven Andrighetto -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Gabriel Landeskog -- Tyson Jost -- Matt Duchene

Matt Nieto -- J.T. Compher -- Rene Bourque

John Mitchell -- Carl Soderberg -- Blake Comeau

Mark Barberio -- Erik Johnson

Fedor Tyutin -- Tyson Barrie

Francois Beauchemin -- Anton Lindholm

Calvin Pickard

Jeremy Smith

Scratched: Joe Colborne, Cody Goloubef, Mikhail Grigorenko, Patrick Wiercioch

Injured: None

 

Status report

Gunnarsson didn't skate Friday and will miss his second consecutive game. "He skated yesterday and didn't feel quite great, quite 100 percent, so we felt we might as well rest him when we can," Yeo said.

 

Who's hot

Schwartz has seven points (four goals, three assists) in a five-game point streak Tarasenko has four points (two goals, two assists) in his past two games and eight points (four goals, four assists) in the past seven. Pietrangelo has six points (three goals, three assists) in the past seven games ... Andrighetto has six points (three goals, three assists) in a four-game point streak. MacKinnon has three points (one goal, two assists) in his past two games.

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