DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 23: Evgeny Grachev #78 of the St. Louis Blues tries to get off a shot against goalie Semyon Varlamov #1 of the Colorado Avalanche as he defende the goal during their preseason game at Pepsi Center on September 23, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Blues defeated the Avalanche 3-2. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
The Colorado Avalanche have only won five of their home games, though the last was a 6-1 blowout of the New Jersey Devils. Was that a fluke or are they finally coming back out of their shell?
Things are going pretty well for the Blues. They're 8-1-2 in their last 11 games and have coughed up just 13 goals in that time period. They're impenetrable. They allow 25.6 shots a game, which is the least in the NHL. Their goals against at 2.00 is also the least allowed in the league (which is currently making up for the lack of high-scoring games), and their GAA tandem has a .952 GAA under Ken Hitchcock, which is more than a renaissance when you consider and the total GAA was a .897 before hand.
Basically, by looking at those numbers, you can tell that the Colorado Avalanche are in for a heck of a time. They won't hang six goals on the Blues like they did Martin Brodeur and the Devils on Wednesday. They'll probably more than likely get the one, as they've scored only one goal in four of their last six games. The Blues' second line of Matt D'Agostini, Chris Stewart, and Patrik berglund haven't been scoring much (though D'Agostini did pot a goal in Tuesday's 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals), but the Avalanche as a team hasn't been scoring much. There's a drop off in scoring past their top five. Defense isn't their strong suit either, with six out of 23 players having a +/- of even or better -- which means that only four people are in the positive range. Ryan Wilson leads with a +5 for the Avalanche, while for the Blues the leading +/- is Alex Steen at a +14 (D'Agostini is a +13 and Jason Arnott is a +10).
Defensively the Blues shouldn't have a problem, offensively they shouldn't have a problem -- historically they have a big problem as they're winless in their last four games at the Pepsi Center. On the bright side, the guy who absolutely killed the Blues is one of their own now: Chris Stewart.
It'll be a resurgent Halak against a pretty not bad himself Semyon Varlamov tonight in net at an 8:00 Central start time. No Erik Johnson, no David Perron, but a set-up that all but promises at the very least a good effort and showing by the Blues.