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Avs and Blues clash in St. Louis

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues have shown this season just how important getting the first goal can be.

The fast-starting clubs are set to meet on Thursday night, when the Avalanche try to bounce back from their first road setback of the season and avoid a fifth straight loss in St. Louis.

Both the Avs and Blues are among the best in the league when scoring first. Colorado has done so in 12 of its 17 games this season, going a perfect 12-0-0, while the Blues have scored the first goal of the game in eight straight contests and are 10-1-2 when doing so this campaign.

Not surprisingly, the clubs are both off to great starts. Colorado is 14-3-0 and tied for first place in the Central Division with 28 points thanks to its best start in franchise history through 17 games.

A victory tonight would surpass the 2000-01 team (13-2-3, 29 points) for the best start through 18 games.

Meanwhile, St. Louis is just three points back of Colorado in the division and its 11-2-3 mark through 16 games matches the 2000-01 squad for the best start in team history. A win for the Blues on Thursday would give it 12 wins through 17 games for the first time.

The Blues have won four straight at home versus the Avalanche by a combined 13-4 score, but Colorado is 11-3-1 in the previous 15 matchups overall.

The Avs tied a franchise best by winning their first six road games of the season before dropping a 2-1 decision on Tuesday to the hosting Carolina Hurricanes.

Paul Stastny scored the lone Colorado goal and Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves as the Avs lost for the second time in four games. Nathan MacKinnon had an assist and matched a club rookie record with nine shots.

"I thought we played well enough to win tonight, but unfortunately it was not on our side," Colorado coach Patrick Roy said.

Roy is expected to give the unbeaten Jean-Sebastien Giguere the start tonight and the netminder will try to make some history of his own. Giguere is the fourth goaltender in Avs annuals to win his first five starts of the season -- Varlamov also did it this season -- and is aiming to become the first to open a campaign 6-0.

Giguere has allowed just five goals on 165 shots, good for a 1.00 goals against average and .970 save percentage, and a win tonight would also match his personal-best win streak of six games done twice before. He is 16-8-2 with a tie and 2.42 GAA lifetime versus the Blues.

The Blues are also looking to bounce back from a loss, having dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday despite a season-high 39 shots.

Maxim Lapierre and Roman Polak scored for the Blues, who held the Coyotes to 19 shots, matching a season low, but still had a three-game win streak snapped. Jaroslav Halak made 16 saves.

"The goalie was better than we were," St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock said of Smith. "The goalie was more determined than some of our shooters were."

Alexander Steen notched an assist to extend his point streak to a career-high 11 straight games. He has 10 goals and 14 points over the run.

The Blues conclude a five-game homestand on Saturday versus Carolina and are expected to start Halak tonight. He is 2-2-2 with a 2.61 GAA in six previous meetings with the Avalanche.

11/14 11:01:18 ET

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Schedule

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Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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  • Canes head coach Kirk Muller presser

    Today at 11:00 am on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHR 2
DUR 9
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
CHI
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR
 
7:05pm Tuesday
PHI 0
ATL 0
7:05pm Tuesday
NYY 0
CHC 0
7:05pm Tuesday
BAL 0
TAM 0
7:08pm Tuesday
DET 0
CLE 0
Final
CIN 7
PIT 5
Final
MIA 11
WAS 2
Final
TEX 5
SEA 0
Final
CWS 2
BOS 1
Final
HOU 2
KAN 4
Final
MIL 1
STL 6
Final
MIN 3
TOR 9
Final
ARI 0
NYM 9
Final
ANA 9
OAK 10
Final
SDP 2
COL 3
Final
SFG 3
LOS 2
12:35pm Today
CIN
PIT
12:35pm Today
BAL
TAM
 
1:05pm Today
NYY
CHC
 
1:10pm Today
MIL
STL
 
3:40pm Today
ARI
NYM
 
7:05pm Tonight
PHI
ATL
 
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
CHC
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CLE
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
WAS
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
SEA
 
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
BOS
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
KAN
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
TOR
 
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
COL
 
10:15pm Tonight
SFG
LOS
 
Final
BRK 98
NYK 109
Final
LAC 117
DEN 105
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
CHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
IND
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIL
ATL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CLE
BRK
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
DAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
DET
 
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
HOU
 
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
LAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIA
PHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
NYK
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
UTA
 
8:00pm Tonight
BOS
WAS
 
10:30pm Tonight
DEN
GSW
 
10:30pm Tonight
POR
LAC
 
10:30pm Tonight
SAC
PHO
 
7:00pm Tonight
TAM
MON
7:30pm Tonight
PIT
CLB
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
DAL
Final
CHR 2
DUR 9
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR