||6 MT / 8 ET / 1 GMT
St Louis Blues
|16-9-6||December 7th, 2009
|38 pts||Scottrade Center
4th in West
||St Louis, MO
t-12th in West
It's almost over. Tonight, the Avalanche will play in their 21st road game while they've played just 11 games at the Pepsi Center. No other team has played more road games or less home games at this point in the season. After tonight, the Avalanche will have 50 games remaining and 30 of those will be at home (where the Avalanche are 7-2-2). When we saw this schedule this summer, we thought the Avalanche might be out of contention by this point. They've done far better than expected, though, and currently sit 4th in the Western Conference. While they are falling back to the pack a bit, their 9-7-4 record on the road is better than expected (and keep in mind, that includes 4 sets of back-to-back road games).
The travel schedule gets a lot easier from here on in. The Avalanche play just one more road game between tomorrow and Christmas. They have a two 3-game road trips in late-December and early-January and then from January 11th until the playoffs, the don't have any road trips longer than 2 games. And four of the 5 remaining 2-game road trips are back-to-backs (figures), so these guys will be spending a LOT of time at home the rest of the way. Is that going to be a good thing for the team? We'll have to wait and see.
They still have to play tonight, though. The Avalanche are playing a fairly mediocre team in the Blues. While the Avs have already gathered 5 points on their 5-game road trip, this is really a "must-win" kind of game. Why? The Avalanche are currently 1 point behind the Flames in the standings and 1 point ahead of the Kings in the standings. Want to guess who the Flames and Kings are playing tonight? Yep. Each other. A regulation loss by Colorado and they either lose ground to Calgary or get passed by the Kings.
The Blues haven't been able to score much this year, but they've been able to keep other teams off the scoreboard with the 9th lowest goals against average in the league. Chris Mason and Ty Conklin have both put up great numbers this year and oh, by the way, the Blues' penalty kill is 4th best in the league. The Avalanche haven't exactly been lighting up the lamp lately, so goals will definitely be at a premium this evening. Even with a rock-solid Peter Budaj between the pipes (Anderson is still out), the Avalanche will need another strong effort from him and the defense in front as this has all the makings of another 3-2 type hockey game.
Avalanche vs Blues coverage
|Stastny||31 pts||Top Scorer||Johnson||19 pts|