Avalanche-Blues Preview

The St. Louis Blues keep picking up points as they push for the top spot in the Central Division.

They’ll try to extend their surge into the All-Star break as they take on a Colorado Avalanche team that has played much better in the past three weeks.

St. Louis looks to record at least a point for the eighth straight game and extend its home point streak to seven when it faces the Avalanche on Monday night.

The Blues (28-13-4) rebounded from having their five-game winning streak snapped in a shootout loss to Detroit on Thursday by beating Toronto 3-0 on Saturday. Brian Elliott stopped 27 shots for his third shutout of the season and Alexander Steen extended his point streak to a career-high nine games with a goal and an assist.

David Backes added two assists to push his scoring streak to six contests, during which he’s recorded seven goals and six assists. The line of Steen, Backes and T.J. Oshie combined for five points and has recorded 49 in the past 11 games.

"Our team game … I think we just work hard and read off each other and the rest kind of takes care of itself," Steen said.

St. Louis, closing out its pre-All-Star game schedule, is 4-0-1 on its homestand. The Blues resume play Jan. 29 in a home showdown with Nashville, which leads the Central by four points over St. Louis.

Elliott faced his highest shot total in his past six starts Saturday, seeing only 12 shots over the final two periods.

"When you get a guy like (leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko), going to the All-Star game in about a week here and he’s blocking a shot in the third period with a couple minutes left, that shows what commitment to the team is," Elliott said. " … That showed it really well in the third period."

Elliott moved into the NHL lead in goals-against average at 1.90.

”This is, for me, the best he’s played,” coach Ken Hitchcock said.

Elliott is likely to start against the Avalanche (19-17-10), who are 1-1-2 on a five-game road trip but 6-2-2 in the past 10.

Colorado forced overtime against Tampa Bay on Saturday on Nathan MacKinnon’s goal with seven seconds remaining, but the Avs went on to lose 3-2 in a shootout.

Colorado outshot the Lightning 42-31 overall and 20-9 in the second period.

"I’m very happy with the performance of the team. We played an outstanding game. It was probably one of our best road games of the season," coach Patrick Roy told the team’s official website.

The Avalanche, though, have totaled five non-shootout goals in the three losses on the trip. Their 29.0 shots on goal per game is toward the bottom of the NHL.

"We wanted to make sure we’re smart at the blue lines, getting the puck in on these ‘D’ and getting our forecheck going," forward Ryan O’Reilly told the team’s website. "Once we establish that, that’s when the excitement builds for us and we can get moving our feet and get puck possession.

"When it comes from that and you get shots on net, sparks go through every line there. It’s definitely something we have to maintain."

Dominating play isn’t something Colorado has had much success doing against the Blues in recent years. St. Louis has gone 9-3-1 in the past 13 meetings and 7-1-0 in the last eight at home.

The Blues have won three of four matchups this season and both at Scottrade Center.