While St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong continues to field trade offers for his players, his team is trying to maintain its game-to-game focus on winning.

That process will continue Saturday afternoon when the Blues host the Colorado Avalanche.

“Everybody understands every game is like elimination,” St. Louis forward Alexey Toropchenko said. “We’re just trying to focus on the next game. We need wins to make the playoffs because everyone wants to make the playoffs. We’re just a hard-working team, physical, and we’re doing what our coaches are saying to us.”

The Blues have won their first three games following the All-Star break. They posted a 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night with scouts and executives reportedly from 15 teams on hand to watch them play.

Armstrong hopes to rebuild around young forwards Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas. Veteran forward Brayden Schenn could provide leadership through the transition period ahead.

Currently those three players form the Blues’ top line. That trio combined for two goals and four assists in the victory over New Jersey, and it has six goals and 11 assists in its last three games.

“Schenner’s awesome,” Kyrou said. “He can score, he can make plays, he can crush guys.”

Blues coach Craig Berube switched for a more aggressive team defensive scheme after the break, and the changes have paid off so far.

“For us just as a team, I think we’re doing a lot of the good things in the offensive zone, forechecking,” Kyrou said. “We’re being super aggressive and it gives us more O-zone time with the pucks. I think that just makes us score more goals.”

With Brandon Saad on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, the Blues recalled rookie winger Jake Neighbours from Springfield of the American Hockey League. Fellow forward Sammy Blais exited Thursday night’s game after taking a big hit, but Berube did not expect him to miss time.

Colorado is coming off a 3-2 victory at Minnesota on Wednesday. Prior to that, the Avalanche lost three of four games coming out of the break.

“We know the standings and we know the (Wild are) close to us,” Avalanche goaltender Alexandar Georgiev said. “We knew it was three points for us, and kind of every game now for us now is playoff intensity. We know we have to get points and get higher up in the standings for sure.”

Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon has produced three straight multi-point performances, totaling four goals and three assists in that stretch.

“I feel like he’s picking up his game here recently,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said on Wednesday. “The bigger the moment, the better he plays. Last night, the night before, I thought he was great. And then tonight, he kind of led the charge for us, especially on the offensive side of it. Looked like he had good legs. He’s making plays and getting dangerous on a bunch of occasions.”

While the Avalanche are still missing Cale Makar due to a head injury, fellow defenseman Josh Manson returned from a lower-body injury that had sidelined him since Dec. 1.

Colorado has won two of the three previous meetings between the teams this season. Mikko Rantanen has recorded four goals and two assists in those games.

–Field Level Media