Blues at Avalanche, Game 35 Preview


35_-_blues_medium

Boy oh boy, we're going to see some "Revenge of the Ex-Avs" tonight. There's no doubt more money will be on the boards in both locker rooms. The Blues will certainly be feeling very confident, given their play since coach Ken Hitchcock took over (13-2-4). The Avalanche should also have some as they will be going for their 7th straight win at home.

Here are the story lines:

  1. Brian Elliott. The goaltender was given the nickname Tank when he was playing in Denver last season. Sub-par play behind a sub-par team made for some pretty ugly numbers for Elliott. Last season, he rocked a .891 save percentage and 3.83 goals against average. This season has been a 180 for him: .948 save percentage and 1.43 GAA, which is good for first in the league on both counts. He also leads the league in shut outs at 4. Neither of the Avalanche goal tenders even come close to Elliott's numbers. With Semyon Varlamov still sidelined with a back strain, we will see Giguere in net again.
  2. Kevin Shattenkirk. Losing Shatenkirk still stings for a lot of the Avs' faithful, and his performance this year does little to ease it. He is leading the Blues' defenseman in scoring with 5 goals and 12 assists for 17 points. He's also a +10, which we all know is the definitive stat for judging performance. Often cited as a major reason the Avs were willing to give up Shattenkirk, Stefan Elliott has filled the void the other defenseman left. In a little more than 1/3 the games played, Elliott has scored 3 goals and had 2 assists.Moreover, his defensive acumen continues to improve with each passing game.
  3. Chris Stewart. Originally, Stewart was considered way too much to give up. Unfortunately for the Blues, they're seeing the downside of the power forward that Avs fans warned Blues fans about.Projected at being a 30-goal scorer, Stewart has scored only 4 goals in 29 games. His assist count—seven— isn't very pretty either. Erik Johnson hasn't been performing as hoped, either. The defenseman had not scored a single goal this season until a silly good slap shot found it's way past Michal Neuvirth when the Capitals visited Denver on Saturday. However, his 13 assists aren't too shabby.
  4. Injuries. The Blues will be without forwards B.J. Crombeen, Andy McDonald and Vladimir Sobotka and defenseman Kent Huskins. The Avs will send the same team out that we saw on Monday. Still out with injuries are David Jones and Kyle Quincey, who are both day-to-day, and Peter Mueller, Brandon Yip, Chuck Kobasew and Ryan Wilson, who are all on injured reserve.

Stats
32 GP 34
19 W 16
9 L 17
4 OT 1
42 P 33
0.656 P% 0.485
2.56 G/G 2.50
2.03 GA/G 3.00
11.0 PP% 21.3
80.9 PK% 79.8
30.4 S/G 31.9
26.2 SA/G 29.3
48.6 FO% 51.4
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