This evening, the Avalanche will return home to the Pepsi Center where they have played their best hockey of the season. The Avs are 2-0 this year and have been absolutely dominant on home ice. They will look to continue the trend against a visiting St. Louis Blues team that comes in with a 5-2 record and currently sits first in the Central division.
The Blues are coming in on the second game of a back-to-back and the Avs have four full days off before their next game, so a win tonight is pretty important for the team that has lost two straight.
The Avs got some good news yesterday as it looks as though Patrik Nemeth will draw back into the lineup tonight. He has been great for the team so far this season and his absence was very noticeable Tuesday in Nashville. His steady defensive play has been a perfect compliment to Tyson Barrie and his impact on the lineup can’t be underestimated. Nemeth will take the place of Chris Bigras, who has looked really good this season but had a bit of a rough night in Nashville.
Up front, Tyson Jost is getting his chance with the top line in an attempt to spark some offensive production. That moves Alex Kerfoot back to the 3rd line where he will center Gabriel Landeskog and J.T. Compher. That line looks pretty good on paper as the two big forwards should be able to create space for the playmaking Kerfoot.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues come into town having lost two of their last three but that includes a 5-2 win last night against Chicago.
The Blues are winning games through defense. They have allowed less than 2.5 goals a game through their 7 games and have been able to overcome some pretty big injuries so far this season.
Jaden Schwartz has been carrying the offensive load for the Blues. He leads the team with 11 points - including a hat trick last night.
On the back end, youngster Vince Dunn has done an incredible job of filling in for the injured Jay Bouwmeester. At only 20-years old, Dunn has the team’s second-best 5v5 CF% behind Alex Pietrangelo. In somewhat sheltered minutes, Dunn has given up the fewest shots/60 of any Blues defender.
Since they played last night, the Blues didn’t skate this morning, but here is the projected lineup for tonight:
Jonathan Bernier will be starting for the Avalanche tonight, a little bit of a curious move given how much time the Avs have off. With Bernier in net tonight that will be a full week between starts for Varlamov - assuming he’s back in next Tuesday against Dallas.
Bernier comes into the game with a 1-1 record and a .912 sv%.
Nothing is confirmed yet, but we can expect to see Carter Hutton in net for the Blues since Jake Allen played last night. Hutton was great in his only start this season, stopping 32 of the 33 shots he faced.
How to Watch/Listen
As always the game will be on, puck drop at 7:00 pm MDT. For those of you looking for a different perspective, you can catch the Blues broadcast on FS-Midwest and NHL.tv.
You can also listen to the game with our friend Marc Moser on Altitude Sports Radio 950AM.