After closing out a lengthy home stretch with back-to-back victories, the Colorado Avalanche must now continue their success on the road.
The Avalanche are scheduled to play 11 of their next 14 games away from Denver, a slate that starts Saturday in St. Louis, where they have defeated the Blues once in the last five visits.
Colorado (25-26-1) went 3-5-0 on its season-high eight-game homestand, but capped that span with consecutive victories for the first time since reeling off three in a row from Jan. 6-10. It ended Calgary’s three-game winning streak on Monday, then stopped Dallas’ five-game run with Thursday night’s 3-2 victory.
“We were really cold for awhile. We came up with two big wins against two pretty hot teams lately. That should definitely help our confidence,” said All-Star right wing Milan Hejduk, who had a goal and an assist against the Stars and leads the Avalanche with 20 goals and is second with 40 points.
“We have 30 games left and every game is huge for us. We need points bad.”
Continuing to collect points will be particularly important for an Avalanche team that is at the bottom of the Northwest Division and is tied for 12th in the Western Conference with 51 points - three more than last-place St. Louis (21-24-6).
To boost their positioning, Colorado will need to be successful during this season’s most demanding road stretch. The Avs won’t play consecutive home games until March 10 and 12.
They’re 9-13-1 away from home and haven’t been on the road since their last trip to the Scottrade Center, where they lost 5-2 on Jan. 15. They’ve been outscored 19-10 in losing four of their last five visits to St. Louis.
Though the Blues fell 3-1 in Colorado on Nov. 26, they’ve won six of the clubs’ last 10 matchups.
St. Louis enters this meeting having secured at least a point in eight of its last nine games (5-1-3). The Blues have alternated wins and losses in their last six, following Tuesday’s 4-2 victory at Central Division rival Columbus with a 2-1 shootout defeat to visiting Edmonton on Thursday night.
Chris Mason made 22 saves through overtime before allowing consecutive goals in the tiebreaker. The Blues totaled 34 shots of their own, but only Jay McClement’s second career short-handed goal found the back of the net.
“Mason bailed us out a few times. We can’t be leaving our goaltenders out to dry there,” said McClement, who has scored four times in the last four games.
Mason is 4-1-2 with two shutouts and a 1.23 goals-against average in his last seven games. He’s 4-3-0 with a 1.87 GAA in seven career starts against Colorado, though he’s lost three of his last four versus the Avs - all while playing for Nashville.
If Mason starts Saturday, he’ll look to contain two of the Avalanche’s hottest players. Hejduk has five goals and an assist during a season-high four-game point streak, while winger Marek Svatos has six goals and four assists in his last 11.
St. Louis may be without one of its top scorers Saturday as rookie Patrik Berglund - tied for second on the team with 32 points - suffered a lower-body injury early in the third period Thursday. He’s day-to-day.