Preview: Avalanche at Blues
The Colorado Avalanche look to remain the NHL’s only team without a regulation defeat when they visit the reigning Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues on Monday for a Central Division showdown. The Avalanche allowed 46 shots on Saturday but received a hat trick from Tyson Jost and took advantage of their opportunities in a 6-2 victory at Tampa Bay to set a club record for most points through eight games (7-0-1).
“I’m really happy with the way we played tonight,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar told reporters. “It’s the best we’ve managed the puck in all our games, especially for a full 60 minutes. Our decision-making through the neutral zone, our puck support, puck movement, was certainly better. And then we had some big nights for some guys.” The Avalanche will try to turn things around after losing all four meetings with the Blues last season, although three of those setbacks came after regulation. St. Louis started the campaign with a four-game point streak but has lost four straight (0-2-2) after giving up three unanswered goals in the second period of Saturday’s 5-2 home setback against Montreal. “There’s not a buy-in right now, enough of a buy-in to team play,” Blues coach Craig Berube told reporters after the defeat. “I think it has been (there) at times, it’s just not consistent enough. It’s got to be there every night.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Altitude (Colorado), FS Midwest (St. Louis)
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (7-0-1): The addition of more scoring options up front has been one of the keys to the early-season surge, and the third line of Jost, J.T. Compher and Colin Wilson came up big Saturday with a total of eight points. “It was great for our line to contribute (Saturday),” Wilson told reporters. “I’m happy for Josty. There’s a lot of scoring depth on our team, and it’s fun to watch.” Mikko Rantanen has recorded four multi-point performances in his first eight games of the season and leads the team with 12 points - one more than linemate Nathan MacKinnon, who has landed on the scoresheet in every contest.
ABOUT THE BLUES (3-2-3): Brayden Schenn leads the team in goals (five) and points (eight) while David Perron scored his fourth goal in Saturday’s loss and is four points shy of 500 for his career. Vladimir Tarasenko, who is tied for worst on the team with a minus-4 rating, has notched at least one point in four straight games and Jaden Schwartz matched him after scoring his first goal on Saturday. Jordan Binnington, who is expected back in net after being rested on Saturday, is 0-1-2 in his last three games after earning at least one point while giving up seven goals in his first three starts.
1. Blues C Ryan O’Reilly has been kept off the scoresheet in four straight contests after recording seven points in his first four games.
2. Colorado D Ian Cole has recorded three assists and a plus-10 rating in his first four games of the season.
3. St. Louis D Carl Gunnarsson (lower body) missed Saturday’s contest and is considered day-to-day.
PREDICTION: Blues 4, Avalanche 3