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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
WAS 110
CHA 107
Final
LOU 75
NCSU 65
Final
DUKE 63
UTAH 57
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
ATL
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NJD
 
Final
ATL 4
BOS 2
Final
STL 5
NYM 4
Final
PHI 0
NYY 10
Final
MIN 2
PIT 4
Final
WAS 1
STL 1
4th
BAL 0
TAM 0
 
Final
TOR 4
DET 1
Final
CHC 6
CWS 3
Final
OAK 7
TEX 6
Final
ANA 2
ARI 7
Final
ARI 3
CLE 2
6:05pm Friday
HOU 0
MIA 0
 
Final
KAN 5
SEA 1
5th
SDP 2
COL 5
 
7th
CIN 5
MIL 7
 
7th
LOS 3
SFG 5
 
1:05pm Today
NYY
BAL
 
1:05pm Today
TAM
BOS
 
1:05pm Today
MIA
HOU
 
1:05pm Today
MIN
PHI
 
1:05pm Today
DET
STL
 
1:05pm Today
PIT
TOR
 
1:07pm Today
TOR
ATL
 
1:10pm Today
NYM
WAS
 
4:05pm Today
CIN
CHC
 
4:05pm Today
MIL
CLE
 
4:05pm Today
CHC
COL
 
4:05pm Today
CWS
OAK
 
4:05pm Today
TEX
SDP
 
4:05pm Today
SEA
SFG
 
4:10pm Today
ARI
KAN
 
4:10pm Today
ANA
LOS
 
Final
WAS 110
CHA 107
Final
ORL 97
DET 111
Final
PHI 98
LAC 119
Final
NYK 92
BOS 96
Final
BRK 106
CLE 98
Final
TOR 94
LAL 83
Final
ATL 99
MIA 86
Final
MEM 84
GSW 107
Final
HOU 120
MIN 110
Final
NOP 102
SAC 88
Final
SAN 94
DAL 76
Final
DEN 107
UTA 91
Final
PHO 81
POR 87
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
ATL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
NYK
 
8:30pm Tonight
MIL
GSW
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
OKC
 
10:00pm Tonight
POR
DEN
 
Final
GONZ 74
UCLA 62
Final
LOU 75
NCSU 65
Final
DUKE 63
UTAH 57
 
1st OT
NARZ 68
KSU 72
 
2nd
OKLA 56
MSU 58
 
6:09pm Tonight
WISC
ARZ
 
7:30pm Tonight
YALE
CAN
 
8:49pm Tonight
KENT
ND
 
Final
MIN 4
CAL 2
Final
CHI 2
CLB 5
Final
EDM 4
DAL 0
 
12:30pm Today
WAS
NAS
 
1:00pm Today
NYI
ANA
 
1:00pm Today
PIT
ARI
 
1:00pm Today
BOS
NYR
 
1:00pm Today
PHI
SJS
 
2:00pm Today
DET
TAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
MON
FLA
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NJD
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CLB
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
LOS
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
BUF
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
DAL