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Avalanche vs. Blues Preview: Annunen Gets The Call

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The two hottest teams in the Western Conference will be in action against each other on Tuesday night, as the Colorado Avalanche head to St. Louis to take on the Blues. Winners of six straight, the Avalanche have their sights set on the top seed in the West, while the Blues are still clinging to hope they can sneak into a Wild Card spot.

In net, the Avalanche will turn to Justus Annunen in an attempt to slow down the Blues. You can see the confidence growing in the young goaltender with each start, and he’s stopped 114 of the last 118 shots sent his way. St. Louis is one of the few teams he has previous experience against, having stopped 19 of 20 shots last year to beat them. That game also happened to be on the road, which is where the majority of his starts have come.

Since the trade deadline, the Avalanche have looked like a different team, and that’s scary for the rest of the Western Conference. On Saturday night, fans got a glimpse into what this team could look like with a healthy lineup (sans O’Connor), and I have to imagine most of them came away impressed. The biggest difference is having a second line that can be trusted to play 15-18 minutes a night, which the Avalanche haven’t had all year long.

Some sort of illness has been making its way through the Avalanche locker room of late, so we’ll have to wait and see if there are any late scratches against the Blues. Cale Makar looked to be visibly ill on Saturday night, as he was shown coughing on camera a few times.

With a win, the Avalanche will complete a perfect road trip for just the second time this season.

The Blues are led up front by Robert Thomas, who the Avalanche will have to keep a close eye on. He’s got 73 points in 68 games this year. Pavel Buchnevich is another dangerous player for them, and someone who many thought was going to be traded at the deadline. Jordan Binnington has bounced back in a big way this year for the Blues, and will be in net against the Avalanche.

Expected Colorado Avalanche Lines 

Valeri Nichushkin – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen

Jonathan Drouin – Casey Mittelstadt – Artturi Lehkonen

Miles Wood – Ross Colton – Zach Parise

Brandon Duhaime – Yakov Trenin – Andrew Cogliano

Defense

Devon Toews – Cale Makar

Samuel Girard – Josh Manson

Jack Johnson – Sean Walker

Starting Goaltender

Justus Annunen

Expected St. Louis Blues Lines

Schenn – Thomas – Kyrou

Saad – Buchnevich – Neighbours

Bolduc – Hayes – Kapanen

Toropchenko – Sundqvist – Walker

Defense

Leddy – Parayko

Krug – Kessel

Perunovich – Faulk

Starting Goaltender

Jordan Binnington

Special Teams

Colorado Avalanche Power Play: 24.8%, 7th in NHL

Colorado Avalanche Penalty Kill: 81.4%, 9th in NHL

St. Louis Blues Power Play: 18.1%, 25th in NHL

St. Louis Blues Penalty Kill: 79.1%,17th in NHL

How to Watch

TV: ESPN+, Altitude 2

Radio: 950 AM

Game Time: 6:00 PM MST

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Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

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