St. Louis Blues at Colorado Avalanche – Gameday Preview February 20, 2013

ST. LOUIS BLUES

at COLORADO AVALANCHE

February 20th, 2013
Pepsi Center
Denver, Colorado
9:00 p.m. CST
TV: NBC Sports Network
Season Series is 0-0

Last night the St. Louis Blues saw their three game winning streak come to an end on home ice.  The confines of Scottrade Center are starting to be a challenging space for the Blues to pick up two points, but tonight they will take their successful road game to Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche.  The first of what will be three meetings between these two teams sees the Avalanche coming into tonight’s game 4-5-1 in their last 10.

ST. LOUIS BLUES

(9-6-1, 3rd in Central)

The St. Louis Blues are taking their show on the road again to take on the Av’s.  After long travel delays, the Blues got to St. Louis just 12 and a half hours before game time yesterday and it looked like the increased travel time played a role in last night’s loss.  Not all was bad though as the Blues held the Sharks to within one and had some real good chances.  The Blues will hope to pick up where they left off in Vancouver with a win tonight in Colorado.

Key players 

 

Feb 7, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues center Patrik Berglund (21) takes a shot against the Detroit Red Wings during the second period at the Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Patrik Berglund scored the lone goal last night for the Blues to extend his goal scoring streak to four games.  Playing alongside Chris Stewart and Vladimir Sobotka has proven to be rewarding for Berglund as he has looked better than ever in this recent stretch.  Berglund will be working hard to continue his streak tonight and might just have some luck against the struggling Colorado defense.

Jaroslav Halak will return to the net tonight against the Colorado Avalanche for the first time in what seems like forever.  Halak had been nursing a groin injury the past few weeks as Jake Allen has led the team in his absence.  While the Blues first put their trust in Brian Elliott, Elliott was unable to deal with the pressure of being the full time starter and has found himself as the odd man out at the moment.  Tonight, Halak needs to show his team that he is ready to lead them through the rest of the season and into the playoffs.  It will be an important start for the netminder and hopefully he is up to speed.

Others to watch 

 

Feb 13, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; St. Louis Blues right wing Chris Stewart (25) scores a goal on Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35) in the second period at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Stewart has been great this season and there is something about playing in Colorado that seems to inspire his game.  The former Av, Stewart likes to show just what he is worth to his former club and will be looking to do just that tonight.  Playing with Berglund has benefited both players, but tonight is Stewie’s chance to show what he is worth.  Look for Stewart to making an impression on the scoreboard and with his body.

Kevin Shattenkirk is the other former Av and has been great this season.  With 14 points in 16 games this season, Shattenkirk will be hoping to get back on the track he was on earlier this season.  Although he has been quiet in the past few games, playing in the former building he called home should motivate Shatty to give a little extra.

COLORADO AVALANCHE

(6-7-1, 4th in Northwest)

The Colorado Avalanche are not having the season they expected in part due to injury.  The team has been without their new Captain Gabriel Landeskog since January 26.  Colorado has also been missing a big part of their lineup in Ryan O’Reilly who is the subject of many trade rumors with Colorado not being able to sign the restricted free agent to a new deal this season.  Colorado is still a tough team though with a lot of skill and can surprise even the best of teams.  Fresh off a 6-5 win against the Nashville Predators, the Av’s will be looking to continue their success.

Key players

 

Feb 18, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene (9) skates with the puck between Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber (left) and center David Legwand (11) during the second period at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Duchene has been hot for the Avalanche as of late scoring goals in four straight games.  Duchene has also managed to put up four assists in the Av’s last two games and has look very impressive so far this season.  Look for Duchene to try and lead his team tonight against the Blues.

Others to watch

P.A. Parenteau is always a threat and since joining the Avalanche has shown that it was not just the skill in Long Island that made him have such a great season last year.  While Parenteau hasn’t been as successful, he has the ability to set up just about anyone on the ice and has a knack for finding holes in the other team’s end.  I would look to Parenteau to be the set up man tonight against the Blues.

Injuries

The Avalanche come into tonight’s game without the services of former first overall draft pick and former Blue Erik Johnson.  Johnson is currently out indefinitely with a head injury as is Gabriel LandeskogRyan Wilson is also out of the Avalanche lineup with a leg injury.  For the Blues, Jamie Langenbrunner is out for the season recuperating from hip surgery.

Bottom line

The St. Louis Blues come into tonight’s game as the favorite to win but a lack of effort will be taken advantage of quickly by the skilled offense of the Colorado Avalanche.  To win the game tonight the Blues will have to give Halak as much support as they can and be willing to play a full 60 minutes.

Let’s hope the St. Louis Blues can bring home a win tonight.  LET’S GO BLUES!

-Alex Hodschayan

Topics: Colorado Avalanche, Game Preview, St. Louis Blues

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