This has not been a good road trip for the Blues, but at least the last stop is with a familiar opponent. This is the third matchup between the Avalanche and the Blues. Tonight's game will set up another in a few days; the Avs pay St Louis a visit on 12/29. In both of the previous meetings, the Blues emerged victorious, but allowed a Bettman point to the Avs in the process. The Avs are in last place in the Central Division, so those third points aren't hurting us ... yet. Nonetheless, the Blues have an opportunity tonight to win a game in regulation, and demonstrate that they really can close out a game. Someday, somehow, that must become a regular habit for the boys.
In the last game, the Blues won in OT despite the heroics of fill-in goalie Calvin Pickard. He was getting the start in place of the injured Semyon Varlammov . Well, Varly is due back- possibly tonight- so be on the lookout there. The Avs would surely get a boost from his return. Stay tuned for news regarding that.
Our own informer inside the Blues organization tells us that Brian Elliott is close to returning, although likely it will be after the holidays. Tonight, the Blues will start Jake Allen in net.
Some of the worst moments of these past two Blues games were allowing goals during a PK or facing an extra attacker. The Blues will need some more crucial kills, and to stay out of the box overall, to right the ship again. The Avs have a decent PK rate (85.8%, 7th in the league) and a crummy PP percentage (14.0 %). They are eminently beatable, but you can't let them capitalize on those man-advantage situations. Keep it legal, boys.
While I can still say this, I'd like to remind you all that Steve Ott is currently riding a 1-game goal streak. Let's see if he can make it 2. It'd be a shame if he had to wait another 55 games for his next one.
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Final Verse: Despite being in Mountain Time, the national broadcast determines that the puck drops at 7 St Louis time. The Gameday Thread should drop shortly ahead of that. Tonight's game is on the NBC Sports Network, so there's that. The radio call will be on the mighty KMOX 1120 AM. Come join us tonight, won't you?