Surging Blues end road trip in Colorado
The St. Louis Blues look to continue their surge under head game road trip tonight against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.
St. Louis is 8-1-2 since Hitchcock took over behind the bench and is only one point behind both Detroit and Chicago for the Central Division lead. It is also just four points behind Pittsburgh for the overall NHL lead and hopes to extend its current winning streak to five games Friday.
The Blues made it four straight wins and improved to 2-0 on the trek with a 2-1 victory at Washington on Tuesday behind goals from Matt D'Agostini and T.J. Oshie. Jaroslav Halak made 18 saves between the pipes for St. Louis, which is 6-6-1 away from home and won for the seventh time in nine tries.
"We played a heck of a hockey game tonight," said Hitchcock, who took over for Davis Payne after a 6-7-0 start. "We created a lot of scoring chances and we didn't give up anything in two periods. We're starting to dial in to playing the game, playing the way we need to win hockey games. It's a good feeling."
St. Louis has won three in a row on the road and will return to the Gateway City for a five-game homestand following tonight's game in Denver. Brian Elliott could be back in the crease this evening for the Blues. Elliott is 10-1-0 with a league-best 1.31 goals-against average after going 6-0-0 with two shutouts and a 0.99 GAA in six November starts.
Colorado will resume its lengthy eight-game homestand Friday and is 3-3 so far on the residency. It won for the second time in three tries with Wednesday's 6-1 pounding of the New Jersey Devils, as Ryan O'Reilly had a goal and two assists and Milan Hejduk added a score and assisted on another for the Avs.
T.J. Galiardi, Jay McClement, Stefan Elliott and Jan Hejda had a goal apiece, while Semyon Varlamov stopped 18 shots in the win. The Avalanche scored three times in both the first and third periods.
"The first period was the way we wanted to come out tonight," said Hejduk, who scored his first goal in eight games since being named team captain. "We got the start we wanted that we have not had for quite a while. It was a great team effort. Now we have to put a run together."
The Avalanche haven't won consecutive games since a five-game run from Oct. 10-17 this season and will close out the homestand versus Detroit on Sunday. They are 5-9-0 in the Rocky Mountains this season. O'Reilly tied a career-high with three points and Elliott became the first defenseman in team history to start his NHL career with points in three straight games.
Colorado won three of four games against St. Louis last season. The Blues are winless in their last four visits to the Pepsi Center.