Allen, Blues seek third straight win in key game with Avalanche

ST. LOUIS — Jake Allen will continue to handle the goalie duties as the Blues prepare to host the Colorado Avalanche in a crucial Central Division matchup Thursday night.

Carter Hutton was not on the ice during the Blues’ practice Wednesday after his neck issues flared up again. He was scheduled to see a specialist Wednesday afternoon.

“We were expecting that Carter was going to be able to practice today,” Blues coach Mike Yeo told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “(Hutton) woke up this morning and was starting to have some troubles again. So he’ll have an appointment … and we’ll see what we find from that.”

Hutton has been dealing with the neck issue since suffering an injury during the morning skate before the Blues’ March 8 game at San Jose.

The Blues again recalled Ville Husso from San Antonio of the AHL. Husso served as Allen’s backup in Los Angeles and Anaheim as the Blues finished a California swing Monday night.

Allen and the Blues beat both the Kings and Ducks to complete their trip. The Blues have 79 points, three back of the Avalanche for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Both teams have played 69 games.

The Blues could be getting defenseman Joel Edmundson back Thursday. Edmundson has missed five weeks with a broken right forearm and has been cleared to play by team doctors.

“We’re hopeful, for sure,” Yeo told the Post-Dispatch. “Good practice for him today. … Edy adds a lot for our group. Big, physical presence, guy that’s really hard to play against. So, hopefully, he’s in tomorrow and if not then we’re going to have to find a way to make up for those minutes.”

The Blues have won four straight against the Avalanche, including all three meetings this season. St. Louis is 7-0-1 against Colorado since the beginning of the 2015-16 season.

Colorado has won its last two and is 5-0-3 since Feb. 26.

Avalanche rookie forward J.T. Compher is coming off his first career multi-goal game in Colorado’s 5-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.

“It’s been a little bit since I had been able to get on the scoreboard,” Compher told NHL.com. “The first one, great play by (David Warsofsky) to get me the puck, and both my linemates were driving to the net kind of threw the goalie off. And we have talked about the power play, getting pucks to the net and bodies to the net, and the second one was just a result of that.”

The Avalanche hope to change their fortunes against the Blues.

“St. Louis is another building that hasn’t been great to us, it’s been tough to win in, and we got to find a way to do it,” Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie told NHL.com. “So, we will be just as excited and ready to go for that one.”

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar told NHL.com that this two-game road trip is a test.

“To be able to carve out points, especially on the road, I think is real important,” Bednar said. “And our guys are coming together as a group, and we like what we are seeing so, hopefully, we keep this thing rolling.”

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