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Schwartz helps surging Blues beat Avalanche 3-1

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jaden Schwartz had a goal and assist and the St. Louis Blues’ defense stifled the Colorado Avalanche in a 3-1 victory on Monday night.

Brian Elliott made 17 saves, T.J. Oshie scored and defenseman Carl Gunnarsson got his second goal of the season for the Blues. St. Louis has scored in a season-best eight consecutive games, going 7-0-1 in that stretch.

Alexander Steen had two assists, giving him 18 points during a 10-game points streak, the longest by the Blues this season. Ken Hitchcock won his 153rd game with St. Louis, tied with Brian Sutter for second on the franchise list.

The Blues have won eight of nine at home against Colorado, including a 3-0 shutout by Martin Brodeur on Dec. 29 in which the Avalanche were held to 16 shots. They’d taken 21 or more in each of the 10 games since that loss.

Matt Duchene scored for the Avalanche, who finished 1-2-2 on a five-game road trip.

Schwartz scored his third goal in five games on a power play at 32 seconds of the second period to snap a 1-all tie. He got the puck right back and beat Semyon Varlamov after his first attempt deflected off the skate of Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson.

Oshie did some nifty stick-handling to set up his 13th goal at 10:40 off assists from David Backes and Steen to close the scoring.

Gunnarsson gave the Blues a 1-0 lead with his first goal since Nov. 13 when his point shot deflected off the stick of Alex Tanguay. He’d totaled three assists in the previous 19 games.

A giveaway by Kevin Shattenkirk led to Duchene’s 13th goal with 6:58 left in the opening period, as the puck ticked off the stick of Blues forward Paul Stastny.

NOTES: Steen has seven goals and 11 assists during his point streak, but his goal streak ended at five games, one shy of his career best last season. … The Blues have an NHL-best plus-37 goal differential. … The Blues are 17-1-2 leading after two periods. … Attendance of 19,187 was the Blues’ ninth sellout and fourth in six games of a homestand that concludes against Nashville Jan. 29. … Backes played his 613th game with St. Louis, tied with Hall of Famer Al MacInnis for eighth on the franchise list.

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