The Colorado Avalanche added to their recent dominance of the St. Louis Blues just before the All-Star break. Unfortunately for the Avs, that was their only win over a four-game stretch.
Locked in a competitive Western Conference playoff race, the Avalanche will try to break out of their funk by prevailing in another matchup with the struggling Blues on Tuesday night.
Colorado (25-19-6) is tied for seventh in the West with Chicago and San Jose, but is 6-9-2 since winning a season-high six straight. The Avalanche earned one of those wins over Vancouver on Jan. 18 to open a five-game homestand but lost three of the next four.
Kevin Shattenkirk and Ryan Stoa scored 44 seconds apart in the lone win over that span, 4-3 over St. Louis on Jan. 24. The victory was the sixth straight over the Blues (22-20-7), who are tied for 13th in the West with Columbus.
Stoa scored again against Phoenix on Wednesday and 20-year-old All-Star Matt Duchene became the franchise's youngest player to reach 100 career points with a third-period goal, but Colorado fell 5-2.
"When we get back we know what we have to do," fellow All-Star Paul Stastny said. "We seem to be rattled some times, lot of guys with injuries. The break will heal up a few guys."
In their drive for consecutive postseason berths, the Avalanche likely won't have Kyle Quincey (shoulder surgery) or Tomas Fleischmann (blood clots in lungs). Peter Mueller (concussion), David Jones (shoulder) and Ryan O'Reilly (shoulder) are also injured.
The Blues have experienced their share of injuries as well with forwards Andy McDonald and David Perron still recovering from concussions. Both players, though, have passed their initial baseline tests and could return soon.
Carlo Colaiacovo also hurt his eye when he was hit by a puck last week and Barret Jackman is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
St. Louis hasn't dealt well with those ailments as it's 2-8-2 in the new year. A 4-1 loss at Calgary on Wednesday night was the Blues' fourth straight, one away from matching their worst skid this season.
"We come back and play Colorado and Edmonton," center Philip McRae said. "If we win those two games, we're right back in it and have some confidence and can get the ball rolling the other way."
Their first home win over Colorado in three meetings could help, but the Blues will likely need a better defensive effort after being outscored 17-9 during their 0-3-1 slump.
The Avalanche, though, have posted a 31-14 scoring advantage in their win streak over St. Louis.
Peter Budaj recorded one of his nine career shutouts Dec. 7, 2009, in St. Louis and has a 2.25 goals-against average in four straight wins over the Blues. Craig Anderson is 4-1-0 with a 2.95 GAA in six career matchups.
With Ty Conklin having started against Calgary, St. Louis might turn to Jaroslav Halak, but he has a 5.08 GAA in the two meetings with the Avalanche this season.