(SportsNetwork.com) – The Colorado Avalanche slowly improved during the first
month of the season and the Avs will try to record consecutive wins for the
first time in 2014-15 when they visit the surging St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
Colorado was shut out by Minnesota in its first two games of the season and
had a 1-4-1 mark after six outings. It was a far cry from 2013-14 when rookie
head coach Patrick Roy led the club to a 12-1-0 mark out of the gate en route
to a surprise Central Division title.
Although the Avalanche have only won twice over the last five games, they
enter Saturday riding a point streak with a 2-0-3 mark to end October.
Colorado’s best effort of the season likely came in its last game, as the Avs
recorded a 5-0 win in Thursday’s meeting with the visiting New York Islanders.
Semyon Varlamov stopped all 40 shots he faced to record his first shutout of
the season, and Nathan MacKinnon added a pair of second-period goals. Both
players were big parts of last season’s run to the playoffs, with MacKinnon
winning the Calder Trophy and Varlamov garnering a Vezina finalist spot.
MacKinnon led all NHL rookies with 63 points last season and was tied for the
lead with 24 goals. He scored his first two goals of 2014-15 on Thursday.
“Tonight was a huge win. And our goaltender was an MVP tonight,” MacKinnon
Erik Johnson, Marc-Andre Cliche and Cody McLeod also provided offense for the
With Colorado also set to play Sunday’s home game versus Anaheim, Varlamov
could get a rest this weekend from backup Reto Berra.
The Blues, meanwhile, will go with Brian Elliott in net as the club tries to
extend its season-high winning streak to four games.
After picking up consecutive wins over Chicago and Dallas, the Blues kept
their hot streak going with Thursday’s 2-0 victory over visiting Anaheim.
Jake Allen made 24 saves to record his second career shutout, while
Alexander Steen and Ryan Reaves scored the game’s only goals.
St. Louis has played its best hockey of the season of late despite dealing
with injuries to key players as well as a bacterial infection that has spread
throughout the team. Center Paul Stastny has missed the last five games with a
sprained left shoulder, while fellow forwards David Backes and T.J. Oshie sat
out Thursday and are both sidelined indefinitely with concussions.
Blues center Joakim Lindstrom is questionable for Saturday after becoming the
latest St. Louis player to catch an illness. Lindstrom sat out Thursday’s win
due to flu-like symptoms.
“Every team in the League is going to have losses (to injuries) all season
long, and unfortunately we have them right now,” Allen said after his team’s
win over the Ducks.
Elliott is 3-2-1 with a 1.98 goals against average this season, and he has the
same exact record and a 2.81 GAA in six career games against Colorado.
St. Louis won three of four encounters against the Avs in 2013-14, but
Colorado earned a 4-0 victory when the clubs last met on April 5. That win
halted Colorado’s five-game road losing streak against the Blues, but St.
Louis has claimed six of the last nine meetings overall