Going Home Soon

St Louis,Mo - Considering the Colorado Avalanche haven't fared well on the road, they're likely looking forward to the lengthy homestand that awaits them.

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Before returning to Denver, the Avalanche will try to conclude a two-game road trip with a victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Oddsmakers from Online Sportsbook Sportsbook.com have made the Blues –110 money line favorites for Wednesday’s game against the Avalanche. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 57% of more than 175 bets for this game have been placed on the Blues -110.

Colorado (22-20-1) is tied with Minnesota and Edmonton for last place in the Northwest Division, partly because the team has lost eight of its last 12 road games.

The Avalanche, though, have won nine of 12 at home. Following Thursday's contest, they will play a season-high eight straight games at the Pepsi Center, starting Friday against the Oilers.

It appears as Colorado prepares to head home that its offense has gotten on track. The Avalanche went five games in a row without scoring more than two goals - they totaled six in that span - before a 5-3 home win over Pittsburgh on Saturday. They scored twice in the third period Tuesday, but fell 4-3 at Columbus to have a three-game winning streak snapped.

The teams were tied 1-all after two periods, but combined for five goals in 3:41 of the third. Ryan Smyth, leading the Avalanche with 32 points, capped the outburst with his team-leading 15th goal at 10:27.

"It was a lot of pucks just thrown at the net trying to win battles for opportunities," Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. "They were able to do it better than us."

Chris Stewart had a goal and assist, and Brett Clark added two assists for the Avalanche, who fell to 7-6-0 against Central opponents. One of those victories came against the Blues, 3-1 at home on Nov. 26 in the teams' only matchup this season.

Colorado has won three the last four meetings, and snapped a three-game losing streak in St. Louis with a 6-4 victory on Feb. 2 in its most recent visit.

Like Colorado, the Blues (16-23-3) have been struggling on the road, losing nine of 10, but they also have been inconsistent at home and that's one reason they are at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. They had gone four straight home games without winning in regulation before a 5-2 victory over Columbus on Jan. 3 in their most recent outing at Scottrade Center.

St. Louis followed that victory by tying a season high for goals in a 6-4 win at Vancouver on Friday, but then was held to a combined two goals in losses at Edmonton and Calgary on Sunday and Tuesday, respectively.

The Blues lost for the fifth time in seven games overall Tuesday, allowing the Northwest-leading Flames to score two goals in the final 51 seconds of a 3-1 defeat.

"Losing stinks, but at least you can be a little more satisfied with the effort we put in because Calgary is a great team and we played with them right til the end," said Chris Mason, who made 31 saves but fell to 0-8-1 with a 3.92 goals-against average in his last 10 games.

Just as the Blues' losses have been accumulating, so have the names on their extensive injury list. All-Star Keith Tkachuk went down after apparently hurting his jaw late in the second period Tuesday. He is uncertain for Thursday.

The left wing, who is second on the Blues with 29 points and one short of 500 assists for his career, has 24 goals and 51 points in 50 lifetime contests versus the Avalanche, who might have Andrew Raycroft make his fifth consecutive start.

Raycroft had his personal seven-game winning streak snapped Tuesday, but won his lone appearance in St. Louis on Feb. 6, 2007, while playing for Toronto.

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Posted: 1/15/09 12:36AM ET

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