Expert Cappers Picks
National Hockey League
Preview
Colorado at St. Louis
When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, December 14, 2018
Where: Enterprise Center, St. Louis, Missouri

The Colorado Avalanche are experiencing the typical peaks and valleys a rollercoaster of an NHL season can offer as they visit the St. Louis Blues on Friday. Colorado has lost three of its last four contests, allowing six or more goals in each setback, after a 9-0-2 stretch vaulted it to the top of the Central Division with one of the overtime losses - against St. Louis - halting a six-game winning streak.

"When we were on our winning streak, we weren't too high,'' Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson told reporters. "Now we're on this two-game losing streak and we're not too low. We're not happy with it, but there's still confidence that we're going to bounce back and go on another streak here. You're going to lose two games in a row sometimes." Win or lose, the Avalanche's Mikko Rantanen continues to terrorize opposing defenses as the NHL's point leader with 52 is riding a 12-game point streak during which he's accumulated six goals and 17 assists. The Blues have won two of three - their best success since taking four of five from Oct. 27-Nov. 9 - after a 4-3 victory over Florida on Tuesday made them 1-12-2 when trailing after two periods this season and 1-1-0 on their four-game homestand. St. Louis prevailed in the first of four meetings this season 3-2 on Nov. 30 in Denver on Colton Parayko's overtime goal in a contest marred by Johnson's game misconduct for an illegal hit to the head of Alex Steen, who missed the next two contests with a concussion.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, Altitude2 (Colorado), FS Midwest (St. Louis)

ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (17-9-5): The most prolific line in hockey continues to dominate as Nathan MacKinnon (20 goals this season) boasts eight goals and 13 assists in the last 12 games with his 47 points placing him second in the league. Captain Gabriel Landeskog (19 goals, 38 points) provides a physical presence and is also riding a five-game point streak (four goals, six assists) as the trio accounts for 46.4 percent of Colorado's scoring. Semyon Varlamov (10-7-3, 2.71 goals-against average, .916 save percentage) has been chased in his last two starts and yielded 14 goals on 73 shots in his last three games.

ABOUT THE BLUES (11-14-4): David Perron (10 goals, 18 points) scored twice against Florida, giving him multi-goal games in two of his last six contests, and reached double digits in goals for the eighth straight season. Jaden Schwartz (two goals, 11 points in 16 games) returned Tuesday after missing 11 games (broken finger) and contributed two assists along with two shots in 17 minutes, 29 seconds of ice time. Defenseman Joel Edmundson (minus-4 rating, 20:52 ice time) missed Tuesday's game with an upper-body injury and his availability Friday was to be determined at the morning skate.

OVERTIME

1. The Avalanche's Tyson Barrie (club-high 22 points among defenseman) is a minus-6 in the last four games.

2. St. Louis is 1-for-11 on the power play in its last five contests and has killed all 15 penalties over the past four while Colorado has permitted six power-play goals in 14 chances in the last four games.

3. Rantanen's 52 points are the second-most in Avalanche history through 31 contests. Peter Forsberg recorded 53 in 1995-96.

PREDICTION: Blues 3, Avalanche 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Colorado 17-9-4-1 L2 6-3-3-0 11-6-1-1 2-0-0-0 15-9-4-1 3-3-1-0
St. Louis 11-14-3-1 W1 7-8-1-1 4-6-2-0 0-2-0-0 11-12-3-1 4-6-3-0
Last Meeting
Colorado St. Louis
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
11/30/18 STL 3 (OT) COL 2 29 34 1-4 37 27 1-3
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Colorado M. Nieto 1
St. Louis J. Edmundson 2
Goals Player  
Colorado M. Rantanen 1
St. Louis C. Parayko 1
Assists Player  
Colorado M. Nieto 1
St. Louis J. Edmundson 2
Saves Player  
Colorado S. Varlamov 34
St. Louis J. Allen 27
Season
Total Points Player  
Colorado M. Rantanen 56
St. Louis R. O'Reilly 31
Goals Player  
Colorado G. Landeskog 21
St. Louis R. O'Reilly 13
Assists Player  
Colorado M. Rantanen 41
St. Louis R. O'Reilly 18
Saves Player  
Colorado S. Varlamov 665
St. Louis J. Allen 624
Quickchart Matchup
Colorado Off vs  St. Louis Def
3.61 GF
3.31 GA
31.5 Shots
30.9 Shots
30 PP
15 PK
St. Louis Off vs  Colorado Def
2.83 GF
3 GA
30.3 Shots
32.2 Shots
21 PP
25 PK