Blues try again to clinch playoff spot vs. Avs

The St. Louis missed an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot in the opener of a home-and-home series with Colorado, but the Blues will get another shot when they host the Avalanche on Tuesday.

The Blues needed to gain only one point in Sunday's game in Denver to officially clinch their second straight playoff berth, but they dropped a 5-3 decision to Colorado. Although the Avalanche are sitting last in the Western Conference, they have won eight straight home games against St. Louis and Colorado has taken 11 of the last 14 encounters in this series overall.

St. Louis still needs one point to nail down a postseason spot and is sitting sixth in the West standings with 54 points, one less than San Jose and three ahead of Columbus and Minnesota.

The Blues have won three straight against the Avs on home ice and St. Louis is 12-8-1 at Scottrade Center this season. The club is closing the regular season on a three-game homestand, where they will host Calgary and Chicago.

St. Louis never led in Sunday's game and Jamie McGinn led the way for the Avalanche with two goals and an assist. Cody McLeod, Matt Duchene and Chuck Kobasew each scored a goal for the Avalanche, who are headed for a third straight year without a playoff spot.

The score was tied at 1-1 late in the first period, but McLeod recorded a goal with 55 seconds left in the stanza to give Colorado a lead it would never relinquish.

"It was nice to get one right before the end of the (first) period," McGinn said. "It's a momentum-shifter and a booster for the locker room. We could feel the energy in here and the energy in the crowd tonight, and we wanted to build off it."

Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 29 saves for Colorado, which went 2-1-1 on a four- game homestand. The Avs are playing two straight on the road, where they are 3-15-4 this season, before closing the season at home against Minnesota on Saturday.

David Backes had a goal and an assist for the Blues, while Jaden Schwartz and Kevin Shattenkirk also lit the lamp in a losing effort.

Brian Elliott stopped 15-of-19 shots before being pulled for St. Louis. Jake Allen turned aside 11-of-12 shots in relief.

"We just didn't play as good as a team. That's not how we wanted to play and obviously it's frustrating not getting a win and clinching a playoff spot like we had a chance to do tonight, so that's what's frustrating," Elliott said.

With Jaroslav Halak still sidelined with a groin injury, Elliott expects to get a sixth straight start in tonight's game. He is 2-2-1 with a 3.19 goals against average in five career games against Colorado.