(SportsNetwork.com) - The Colorado Avalanche will try to avoid a third straight loss before heading into the All-Star break when they host the Boston Bruins in Wednesday's clash at Pepsi Center.
The Avalanche were on a hot streak not that long ago, winning five of six games from Dec. 31-Jan. 10, but Patrick Roy's club has dropped four of five tilts since then. The current 1-2-2 stretch includes consecutive setbacks at the end of a five-game road trip.
Colorado is coming off Monday's 3-1 loss in St. Louis, which broke a 1-1 tie with a pair of goals during a strong second period. The Blues outshot the Avs 30-18 in the game and held a 14-5 advantage in the middle stanza.
Jaden Schwartz tallied a power-play goal to put the Blues ahead 2-1 just 32 seconds into the second and T.J. Oshie completed the scoring with 9:20 left in the period.
Matt Duchene scored and Semyon Varlamov stopped 27-of-30 shots for the Avalanche, who are five points out of a playoff spot in the West.
"Obviously the second (period) was the difference-maker in the game," Roy said. "I would say that they were probably the better team on the compete level."
The Avs have won four of their last five home games and are 11-9-3 in Denver this season. After tonight, Colorado won't play again until visiting Nashville on Tuesday.
Varlamov will start tonight and is 1-2-1 with a 2.12 goals against average in his career against Boston.
The Bruins enter the final day of play before the All-Star break on a 6-1-0 hot streak that includes last night's 3-1 victory in Dallas. Boston rebounded with the victory after having a five-game winning streak snapped with Saturday's 3-1 setback against visiting Columbus.
Boston scored three unanswered goals to pick up the road win over the Stars. Vernon Fiddler gave Dallas a 1-0 lead at 6:46 of the second period, but the Bruins would carry a 2-1 lead into the third period.
Dougie Hamilton tallied a goal and an assist, while Loui Eriksson and Gregory Campbell also lit the lamp for the Bruins. Tuukka Rask stopped 36 shots in the win.
"We play our best when the effort is there, and it was there tonight," said Hamilton.
Bruins forward Brad Marchand is expected to be in the lineup tonight after serving the second of his two-game suspension for a slew-footing incident that occurred on Jan. 15 against the New York Rangers
Colorado posted a 2-1 regulation win in Boston on Oct. 13, giving the Avalanche wins in three of the past four meetings between the clubs. The Bruins have won three in a row and five of the past six encounters at Pepsi Center.
Backup goaltender Niklas Svedberg could get the start for the Bruins tonight. He took the loss against the Avs on Oct. 13 despite stopping 28-of-30 shots.