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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, April 5th (All times Eastern)

Colorado Avalanche (49-21-6) at St. Louis Blues (52-17-7), 2 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Colorado Avalanche can make the race for the Central Division crown just a bit more interesting on Saturday afternoon when they try to match their longest winning streak of the season in a battle with the first-place St. Louis Blues.

The Avs have won five in a row to post their longest string of consecutive victories since Oct. 19-Nov. 2, the second of two six-game winning streaks this season.

Colorado's run has upped its season point total to 104, seven back of St. Louis' 111 points with six games to play for both clubs. The Avalanche also are one point ahead of the third-place Chicago Blackhawks with two games in hand.

Defenseman Tyson Barrie came up with a clutch performance on Thursday versus the New York Rangers, scoring the game-tying goal with 51.4 seconds left in regulation before notching the lone tally of the shootout.

Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov stopped Mats Zuccarello, Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards in the shootout to secure the victory for the Avalanche. He improved to 39-14-5 this season with a 2.47 goals against average in 60 games (57 starts) this season.

Varlamov also matched current head coach Patrick Roy's franchise record for most home victories in a season with 24, set in 2000-01 in Colorado's Stanley Cup-winning season.

"In my opinion (Varlamov) should be a candidate for the Hart Trophy. That's how high I think of what he's doing," Roy said.

Andre Benoit scored in the second period as Colorado recorded its 49th victory of the season, tied for the second most in team history. The aforementioned 2000-01 squad logged 52 victories in the regular season.

After earning high praise from his coach, Varlamov is slated to start today's game as well as Sunday's home contest versus the Pittsburgh Penguins. He is 4-4-1 lifetime versus the Blues with a 2.16 GAA.

The Blues, meanwhile, will look to separate themselves a bit more from the Avalanche and have won five of their last six games. That includes Thursday's 2-1 triumph over the Buffalo Sabres, one that gave St. Louis a franchise-best 52nd victory of the season.

The Blues also are tied with the Bruins for the most points in the NHL with a game in hand. Boston hosts the Philadelphia Flyers this afternoon.

Brian Elliott made the start as Ryan Miller got a night off despite the Blues taking on his former Sabres club. Elliott was solid with 24 saves, having a shutout bid spoiled with under a minute to play.

"I've been around Brian (Elliott) for three years, this is the best I've ever seen him play," St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He's playing terrific."

Maxim Lapierre and Brenden Morrow each tallied goals, with the latter's coming with 1:52 left to play to help the Western Conference-leading Blues improve to 13-3-1 since they acquired Miller from Buffalo on Feb. 28.

The Blues also played without leading scorer Alex Steen (upper body) and defenseman Barret Jackman (lower body), with blueliner Jordan Leopold getting into the lineup for the first time since Feb. 8. Steen, who has 33 goals and 60 points this season, and Jackman are questionable for today's game.

The Blues will visit the Blackhawks on Sunday and Miller is set to return to net today. He is, however, just 1-3-3 in his career when facing the Avalanche with a 3.21 GAA.

Today marks the fourth and final regular-season meeting between these clubs, with the Blues having won four in a row in the series.

St. Louis recorded a 7-3 victory in the most recent home matchup on Nov. 14, its fifth straight as the host against Colorado.

04/05 10:31:30 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
 
1st
NCSU 8
BSU 7
 
1st
PIT 0
CAR 0
 
1st
CHA 10
GSW 11
 
8:00pm Tonight
UF
UNC
8:30pm Tonight
TULSA
ECU
Final
BOS 102
CHI 109
1st
CHA 10
GSW 11
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
DAL
7:30pm Tonight
DET
MIL
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
NOP
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
LAC
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
NYK
8:00pm Tonight
IND
ORL
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
SAC
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
PHO
10:00pm Tonight
POR
MEM
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MIN
Final
WMICH 21
NILL 31
Final
SMU 9
HOU 35
Final
IOWA 34
NEB 37
Final
SFLA 0
UCF 16
Final
MARS 66
WKENT 67
Final
KSU 27
AKR 24
Final
BGU 24
BST 41
Final
UMASS 21
BUF 41
Final
EMICH 16
TOL 52
Final
MIZZ 21
ARK 14
Final
SALABAMA 40
NAVY 42
 
Final
ARZ 42
ARST 35
Final
AFA 27
COLST 24
 
Final
UCLA 10
STAN 31
8:00pm Tonight
VT
UVA
8:30pm Tonight
TULSA
ECU
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
 
Final
KU 82
TENN 67
Final
TEXAM 87
NO 65
 
Final
NCAT 57
RAD 65
 
Final
GEOR 58
BUT 64
Final
BRO 81
PVU 71
Final
RIU 66
SCU 44
Final
NARZ 70
SOUTH 63
Final
DART 68
MAST 67
Final
WRST 59
FIU 61
Final
XAV 73
UTEP 77
Final
OSU 73
JMU 56
Final
TXSOU 71
LAM 56
 
Final
TAMCC 75
MVSU 66
 
Final
AKAN 51
MIZST 55
Final
BUCK 80
PSU 88
 
Final
PROV 72
YALE 66
Final
UGA 62
MINN 66
 
Final
WISC 69
OKLA 56
 
Final
Terriers 70
NORST 72
 
Final
PEAY 62
STEPH 83
 
2nd
FSU 34
CSOU 22
 
2nd
VALPO 47
DRAK 26
 
2nd
CIN 50
MTST 28
 
2nd
SDU 51
PRIN 42
 
Half
WASU 39
RICE 33
 
Half
CSFU 36
USCU 33
 
1st
GT 25
RIDE 22
 
1st
TXPA 21
ALAST 19
 
1st
NCSU 8
BSU 7
 
1st
TCU 4
BRAD 4
 
1st
WAKE 19
DELST 15
 
1st
HART 13
EMERSON 5
 
1st
STJ 7
GONZ 6
 
1st
CLEM 11
HIGH 5
 
1st
SYR 6
HC 6
 
1st
MD 19
MON 10
 
1st
JVST 16
SAV 8
 
1st
MIAMI 17
SALA 0
 
1st
RUTG 14
VANDY 12
 
7:30pm Tonight
PETE
TENST
8:00pm Tonight
MARS
CLST
8:00pm Tonight
JST
HOF
 
8:00pm Tonight
INDST
MEM
8:00pm Tonight
UF
UNC
8:00pm Tonight
LATU
SAMF
8:00pm Tonight
TULA
SELA
 
8:00pm Tonight
NEB
TENNM
8:30pm Tonight
MISS
CREI
8:30pm Tonight
PORT
MURST
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
MSU
9:00pm Tonight
ARK
UNT
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
STET
 
9:00pm Tonight
IND
UNCG
9:00pm Tonight
SJST
WMICH
9:05pm Tonight
MNTST
TXARL
9:30pm Tonight
UVA
LAS
9:30pm Tonight
STLU
MSST
9:30pm Tonight
COLST
PAC
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
NDAK
10:30pm Tonight
ILL
BAY
10:30pm Tonight
UAB
UCLA
11:30pm Tonight
WASH
LBSU
11:59pm Tonight
UCSB
MERC
Final
PHI 0
NYR 3
Final
ANA 1
CHI 4
3rd
WAS 4
NYI 2
 
1st
PIT 0
CAR 0
 
1st
NJD 1
DET 1
 
1st
BUF 1
MON 0
 
1st
CLB 0
VAN 0
 
1st
BOS 0
WIN 0
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
OTT
8:00pm Tonight
STL
EDM
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
MIN