Blues take surging offense to Colorado

( – Thanks to a red-hot offense, the St. Louis Blues take
aim at a fourth straight victory on Saturday night in a road matchup with the
Colorado Avalanche.

The Blues have netted 14 goals over their past three wins, getting a big game
from Alexander Steen on Thursday in his return to the lineup. Steen had two
goals and an assist in a 6-3 victory over the New York Islanders.

Steen had missed the past two games with a lower-body injury and provided an
immediate spark. His second tally ignited a four-goal third period that
carried the Blues to their seventh victory in 10 games. Steen spent time in
Thursday’s game skating with David Backes and T.J. Oshie, who had a goal and
two assists.

“I thought (Steen) was real good. I thought that line was real good. Set the
tempo early in the game. Set the tempo in the third period,” said St. Louis
head coach Ken Hitchcock.

Barret Jackman added a goal and an assist, while Paul Stastny and Jade
Schwartz scored to back Jake Allen’s 25 saves.

St. Louis also saw the return of defenseman Jay Bouwmeester from a groin
injury that had held him out of the past eight games.

The Blues are looking for their longest winning streak since a season-high
seven-game run from Oct. 25-Nov. 6, while the Avalanche hope to make it two
wins in a row following a 4-3 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene scored on Colorado’s first two chances in
the shootout after Jarome Iginla and Ryan O’Reilly scored late to tie the game
for the Avs. O’Reilly’s game-tying goal came with 2:42 left in regulation.

“We didn’t let some of the bad breaks deflate us and we kept going until the
end,” said Duchene, who also had a goal and an assist in regulation.

Calvin Pickard made 30 saves, including two huge stops in overtime, before
shutting out Winnipeg in the shootout, helping Colorado snap a four-game
losing streak (0-3-1).

“It was exciting. We came back and it would have been nice to win that and I
just wanted to be patient,” said Pickard. “I know guys like MacKinnon and
Duchene have some silky hands and they made a couple of nice goals there. I
just wanted to be patient and make those saves.”

The Avalanche will hope for some more big saves tonight seeing as the Blues
have won five of the past six meetings overall. That includes a 3-2 shootout
victory at home on Nov. 1 in the first of five meetings this season.

Joakim Lindstrom had a goal in the second round of the shootout that decided
things, while Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice in regulation.

O’Reilly and MacKinnon both had a goal and an assist for the Avs, though
O’Reilly joined Gabriel Landeskog and Duchene as Colorado skaters who failed
to convert in the shootout.