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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, November 27th (All times Eastern)
St. Louis Blues (17-3-3) at Colorado Avalanche (17-5-0), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Colorado Avalanche and rookie head coach Patrick Roy have easily been one of the biggest surprises of the 2013-14 season.
The St. Louis Blues were one team not left in awe by the Avs.
Two weeks after their first meeting of the season, the Blues and Avalanche rematch on Wednesday night in Colorado.
The Avs were coming off just their third loss in 17 games this season when they visited the Blues on Nov. 14. St. Louis, though, handed Colorado what was the second contest of an eventual three-game skid with a 7-3 decision, getting a pair of goals from Alexander Steen, four assists by T.J. Oshie and 21 saves from Jaroslav Halak.
That loss was also one of just two road setbacks suffered this season by the Avs, who are 9-3-0 at home and 8-2-0 as the visiting club.
Still, Colorado finds itself looking up at St. Louis in the standings, trailing the Blues by three points for second place in the Central Division.
After besting the Avalanche for the fourth time in the last six meetings overall, the Blues aim to snap an eight-game slide in Denver. They have not won in Colorado since a 1-0 triumph on April 12, 2009.
St. Louis has put together a 10-2-1 record this month and is coming off a 3-0 victory over the visiting Minnesota Wild on Monday. Halak made 22 saves in his second shutout of the season and 27th of his career, with a club-record 18 of those coming with the Blues.
Halak wasn't tested much early, making just 10 saves through the first 40 minutes.
"The first two periods, it was no shots again, no action for me, just a couple shots," Halak said. "I just needed to stay focused tonight. It wasn't easy, but going into the third and having the lead, that's what we wanted."
Vladimir Sobotka scored 1:20 into the second period and Steen scored the first of his two goals 13:38 into the frame. He added an empty-net tally for his 19th goal and 29th point of the season -- both ranked second in the NHL.
Steen's two goals earlier this season against Colorado gave him six tallies and 12 points in 20 career meetings, while Halak is 3-2-2 with a 2.67 goals against average versus the Avs and will start tonight.
The Avalanche have won three in a row since that aforementioned three-game slide and notched a 1-0 overtime victory against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
Semyon Varlamov made 19 saves in his first shutout of the season and 12th of his career, while Jamie McGinn was credited with the winning goal at 2:31 of overtime after his shot hit off Los Angeles' Jarret Stoll and in.
"It was a 60-minute effort, I thought it was one of the best game of the year. It was the best game of the year for us," said Roy.
All three wins have come minus forward Matt Duchene, who leads the Avalanche with 12 goals and 20 points but is out with a strained oblique and is not expected to play tonight.
Duchene scored versus the Blues on Nov. 14 and Varlamov relieved Jean- Sebastian Giguere for a spell during the loss and yielded two goals on six shots in 13 minutes of work.
Varlamov will start tonight and is 4-2-1 with a 2.03 GAA in seven previous meetings with the Blues.
11/27 10:53:37 ET
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