Don't look now, but the Colorado Avalanche may have some momentum this spring.after all. After a tough overtime loss against Vancouver last weekend, the Avalanche used a strong third period to manhandle the Chicago Blackhawks. A resilient effort from budding star Ryan O'Reilly on Friday night helped Colorado overcome three one-goal deficits en route to a dramatic overtime victory against the Carolina Hurricanes.
In complete contrast to last February's free fall in the standings, Colorado has earned five of six possible points over the last week heading into Saturday night's vital matchup against the St. Louis Blues. All six of Colorado's top forwards are starting to heat up. Peter Mueller has seven points in the nine games since returning from injury; Paul Stastny has been electric, scoring at more than a point per game pace the past three weeks; David Jones has six points in the past three games; Gabriel Landeskog has scored critical goals in the past two games. With the continued absence of Matt Duchene, the Avalanche's top players are finally starting to produce.
The Blues are the league's best home team with a 22-3-4 record this season, and boast the league's hottest goaltending tandem in Jaroslav Halak and former Avalanche netminder Brian Elliott (who leads the entire league with a sparkling 1.62 GAA and .940 SV%). While the offense continues to be a major concern for St. Louis (they rank 25th in the league in total goals), the defense and goaltending are both championship caliber this season.
Semyon Varlamov will get the start in net for Colorado, giving Jean-Sebastien Giguere a break. Varlamov has been incredibly inconsistent this season -- and has struggled lately -- but gets the opportunity to break out of his slump against a below average offensive team.
Puck drops at 6:00 p.m. MDT.
For more coverage, visit our Avalanche blog Mile High Hockey and our Blues blog St Louis Game Time.