The Colorado Avalanche will face off tonight against a St. Louis Blues team in a very similar position as both teams that held playoff aspirations at the beginning of the season are now hanging outside the picture.
The Blues began the season with a bang, going 9-1-2 in their first 12 games and taking a commanding lead in the Central Division. Since that fast start, though, they have struggled mightily. The past 10 games, St. Louis has limped to a 2-6-2 record and has faded from the Western Conference playoff picture. They are now fourth in the division they once led and goaltending has been the center of their struggles. Earlier this season, they rode the shoulders of young Jaroslav Halak. Now? He has a .884 save percentage in the past 10 games.
Colorado is in the midst of a month-long struggle, only winning two games in a row once during that entire stretch. Their offense has been a question mark, and the special teams and defense have been borderline atrocious. In order to give the team a spark, Coach Joe Sacco has given Craig Anderson the night off and will start Peter Budaj in goal. Anderson had allowed 10 goals in the past two games, both losses.
Both teams need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, lest they fall further back within their respective divisions.
Peter Budaj and Jaroslav Halak will get the starts tonight in goal. Kevin Porter will be a healthy scratch as Brandon Yip gets the nod.
Puck drops at 7:30 pm MST.