St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche: Game Preview


The St. Louis Blues face the Colorado Avalanche for the fourth time this season on Monday night. The meeting, which will be the second this year at Scottrade Center, will be the third and final time that the teams face off during December. For the first time this season, the Blues are in a true place of vulnerability, as they’re currently in the midst of a four-game losing streak, their longest of the season, and they’ve suddenly fallen to third place in the Central Division after leading it for the majority of the year thus far.

On Monday, the Blues will first and foremost be looking to avoid the embarrassment that was cast upon them the last time they played the Avalanche on December 23 in Denver. For the fourth time during 2014-15, the Blues were shut out, and it was their widest margin of defeat this year, as Colorado put up five goals on the Blues. The Blues have shown that they can handle Colorado–they beat them 3-2 in a shootout at Scottrade on November 1 and defeated them 3-2 in overtime in Colorado on December 13.

However, the Blues have struggled to achieve the same level of fluidity ever since forward Jaden Schwartz was sidelined with a broken foot earlier this month, while Colorado has been on a bit of a run during the month of December. With that said, they were defeated 5-2 on their home ice by the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, so it should be interesting to see how much confidence they have coming into St. Louis.

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Martin Brodeur will get the start in goal on Monday for the Blues. Brodeur relieved Jake Allen for the third period of the 5-0 loss and did not allow any goals on 10 shots. The Blues will have to hope that the 42-year-old, who has struggled in both of his road starts, displays the form that he showed during his lone home start on December 8 against the Florida Panthers, when he allowed two goals on 28 shots en route to a 4-2 Blues victory.

It could be Brodeur’s final start with the Blues, as regular starter Brian Elliott could return from his knee injury as soon as Tuesday’s game against the Nashville Predators. It’s unclear at this time exactly what the Blues plan to do with Brodeur upon Elliott’s return.

It’s possible that defenseman Carl Gunnarsson, who went through a full practice Sunday, could be ready to rejoin the lineup on Monday after missing every game since December 6 with a combination of recurring hip issues and concussion symptoms. If he’s still out, defenseman Ian Cole is likely to get back into the lineup in place of Petteri Lindbohm, who struggled in Saturday’s game and gave up a costly turnover that led to a Dallas Stars goal.

Vladimir Tarasenko did not practice Sunday, though there was no indication that his status for Monday was up in the air. Assuming health for Tarasenko, forwards Joakim Lindstrom and Magnus Paajarvi figure to be the healthy scratches on Tuesday, just as they were on Saturday.

Next: Blues Goalie Brian Elliott's Return Imminent