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Avalanche Vs Blues: Battle For A Draft Pick

The Colorado Avalanche head out on their final road trip of the season, beginning with a game against the St. Louis Blues. The Blues boast some familiar faces in forward Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk, both were members of the blockbuster trade that sent defenseman Erik Johnson to a Colorado uniform.

While the trade was made with a long term mindset, it's difficult to avoid looking at the short term results --and the Blues appear to have won that battle, with the reemergence of Chris Stewart's offense. Stewart has 14 goals and 22 points in 23 games while wearing a Blues sweater. Shattenkirk has a very respectable 14 points in 23 games with St. Louis.

Yet neither team has taken off since this blockbuster. The Blues have been a middling 10-11-1 since the trade. With Colorado holding St. Louis' first round pick in either 2011 or 2012, all eyes are now on the final standings. If St. Louis finishes in 11th or higher place in the final standings, Colorado will obtain their first round selection in this June's 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The Blues are currently tied for ninth place, and only two points behind Toronto for 11th. Both teams would obviously like to win tonight's matchup, but a loss would give Colorado the inside track on another first round selection in two months. What a quandary.

Peter Budaj will get the start in net after two very good starts in a row. Jaroslav Halak will start in net for St. Louis.

Puck drops at 6:00 p.m. MDT.