NHL Hockey: St Louis at Colorado Print
Written by TheSpread   
Wednesday, 13 December 2006 10:15
NHL Headline News

Despite Coaching Change Bettors Don't Give Blues Much Hope Against Avs

Team Page: St Louis :: Colorado

74% of Bets Placed on Avalanche -290 | Matchup | Goalies

The St. Louis Blues had a new coach, but the result was one they've become very familiar with.

After failing to win his debut behind the St. Louis bench, Andy Murray and the Blues will try to end an eight-game losing streak Wednesday when they visit the Colorado Avalanche.

Murray replaced Mike Kitchen as coach of the Blues on Monday, but wasn't able to work any magic in his debut as St. Louis' skid was extended with a 3-1 home loss to Chicago.

Oddsmakers have made Colorado -290 money line (NHL Odds) favorites for todays game, the over/under has been set at 6 total goals (View NHL Sports Books).

``I saw some things we did well and some things we need to work on, obviously,'' Murray said. ``I saw some great efforts and I saw some players that I think need to give a little bit more.''

The Blues (7-18-4), who own the league's worst record, remained winless since a 3-2 shootout victory Nov. 24 over Detroit. They haven't won in regulation in 13 consecutive games (2-10-1), with both victories during that span coming via shootout.

Generating offense and poor discipline are two of the biggest problems facing Murray.

The Blues have scored a league-low 67 goals despite adding veterans Doug Weight, Martin Rucinsky and Bill Guerin in the offseason.

St. Louis is one of the most penalized teams in the league, ranking 26th, and Murray told his players after the game they need to cut down on mistakes.

``We have to kill penalties at the start of the third period when we wanted to take the game to them,'' Murray said. ``Discipline has to certainly be a point we address.''

Murray also has no choice right now but to stick with two very inexperienced goaltenders.

Manny Legace (concussion) and Curtis Sanford (groin) are both sidelined with injuries, leaving Jason Bacashihua and Marek Schwarz as the team's only netminders. Bacashihua has four career wins, while Schwarz lost his NHL debut Tuesday.

One of Murray's first decisions Tuesday was to use veterans Keith Tkachuk and Guerin on the penalty kill, but that didn't produce any positive results as the Blackhawks scored twice with the man advantage.

For Murray to get his first win Wednesday, the Blues are going to have to win in Colorado, where they have one victory in their last seven visits.

Colorado had been unbeaten in seven straight overall against St. Louis before a 4-1 loss Nov. 2 at Scottrade Center. The Avalanche have 12 wins, four regulation losses and three ties in their last 19 meetings with the Blues.

Andrew Brunette and Joe Sakic each had one of Colorado's four third-period goals Monday in a 5-2 victory over Carolina.

Brunette's goal at 8:46 of the period tied the game at 2 and was his first in 16 games.

``I think it was a good moment for the team,'' Brunette said. ``We had to respond after their goal and we did that.''

The Avs' last three wins have come against first-place Edmonton, San Jose - which owns one of the league's best records - and the defending champion Hurricanes. They also, however, have recent losses to sub-.500 teams Columbus and Los Angeles.

``We've been up and down of late, and it would be nice to get something going,'' coach Joel Quenneville said. ``It's been tough to get on that roll. But tonight, it was nice to win a game where it was on the line.''

Colorado could be without defenseman Jordan Leopold for an undetermined time after he suffered a groin injury Monday. Leopold missed the first two months of the season with a sports hernia.

by: Gary Roberts - theSpread.com - Email Us

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