The Avalanche enter today tied with Dallas for the ninth seed in the West and the clubs are just one point behind Phoenix for the conference's eighth and final postseason berth. Minnesota and Calgary are also just one point behind the Avs and Stars in the crowded Western Conference playoff picture.
Colorado had lost five straight (0-4-1) before closing a four-game homestand with consecutive wins over Chicago and Carolina. Friday's win over the Hurricanes was a dramatic one, as Ryan O'Reilly scored the game-winner with 1.2 seconds left in overtime to give the Avalanche a 4-3 win at the Pepsi Center.
With time winding down, O'Reilly picked the pocket of Justin Faulk in the neutral zone and skated the other way. From the left wing, O'Reilly cranked a shot that beat Cam Ward to the left side for the win.
"I looked up and saw four seconds on the clock," said O'Reilly. "I managed to get the shot off on time and got lucky with it."
Colorado will now play four straight and six of its next seven games on the road, where it is 12-12-2 this season.
The Blues, meanwhile, have won three of their last four games and enter tonight five points behind Detroit for the top spot in the Central Division and Western Conference. St. Louis is also just two points ahead of Nashville for the West's fourth seed and second place in the Central.
St. Louis won its second straight game Thursday in New Jersey, as T.J. Oshie scored the only goal in the shootout to give the Blues a 4-3 victory over the Devils at Prudential Center.
The Blues found themselves down by a 3-2 score midway through the second period, when Brian Elliot relieved an ineffective Jaroslav Halak in net. Elliott stopped all 15 shots he faced in regulation and overtime before denying three Devils skaters in the shootout.
Patrik Berglund scored with 5:50 remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime, while Chris Stewart and David Perron also scored for St. Louis, which ended its three-game road trip with two straight victories.
"Whenever you're down one goal going into the third on the road it's a good position to be in, so we were pretty comfortable," said Elliot.
Elliott, who played in 12 games with Colorado last year after getting traded from Ottawa, is expected to get the start tonight. He is 1-1-1 in three career tests against the Avalanche.
St. Louis has a 22-3-4 record at home this year compared to a 10-11-3 mark on the road. Beginning with tonight's test, the Blues will play four of their next five games at Scottrade Center.
Jason Arnott is not expected to play tonight for the Blues after sitting out the last three games with a bruised left shoulder. Arnott was placed on injured reserve Friday and will also sit out Sunday's game against San Jose. Matt D'Agostini will also miss a second game since sustaining a blow to the head on Tuesday against Ottawa.
The Blues are expected to get forward Andy McDonald back Sunday when they faced the Sharks. McDonald, who had 50 points in 58 games for the Blues last year, has been out since suffering a concussion on Oct. 13 in Dallas.
Tonight's tilt marks the fourth and final scheduled meeting between the Blues and Avs this season. Colorado has taken two of three encounters so far, but the Blues posted a 4-0 triumph on home ice when the clubs last met on Jan. 7. The Avs have still won nine of 11 overall in this series, but St. Louis has claimed the last two matchups in the Gateway City.