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Blues At Avalanche Preview: No Erik Johnson, But Hey, Aaron Palushaj!

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Erik Johnson is currently out with a concussion, so there goes the storyline that NBCSN is pushing for tonight's late half of their Rivals doubleheader.

Doug Pensinger

Tonight's game is a late one -- it's the second half of NBCSN's weekly "Rivals" match up. It follows the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins, so one can be forgiven when looking at this game as a duel between hated rivals. Honestly, there is one thing pushing that story: The Trade.

We all know what that was. In February 2011, two years ago, the Blues sent former first-overall draft pick Erik Johnson as well as fan-favorite Jay McClement to the Colorado Avalanche. In return, the Blues got big power forward Chris Stewart and rookie defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. How'd that work out?

Johnson, while a vital part of Colorado's defense, isn't playing near at the level of Shattenkirk. Stewart has been inconsistent in the Note, but still a very valuable player. Jay McClement is wearing the A.... in Toronto. So, yeah, the Blues won.

Also, the trade was two years ago. I think both teams the Avalanche have had time to lick their wounds and move on. So, how is this a rivalry again?

As we remember so well, the jet lagged Blues lost 2-1 last night against the San Jose Sharks. If they're awake and their defense plays like they did yesterday, they should leave Denver with two points. Also, Jaroslav Halak is back tonight. He allowed one goal in two games against the Avs last year (Brian Elliott allowed two). He had a whole night of rest yesterday, so he should be awake and aware even if the rest of the team feels like snoozing.

The issue for the Blues is that they're not particularly good in higher elevations. The Avs have beaten the Blues seven straight times at home.