Final OT

Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series tied 1-1

Game 1: Sunday, October 12th
Game 2: Friday, December 26th
Game 3: Thursday, February 12th
Game 4: Thursday, February 26th

Blues 2

(29-23-2, 68 pts)

Avalanche 2

(33-15-4, 81 pts)

8:00 PM ET, February 26, 2004

Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

1 2 3 OT T
STL 0 2 0 02
COL 1 1 0 02

M. Hejduk (Avalanche - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

K. Tkachuk (Blues - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

J. Sakic (Avalanche - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

St Louis (29-23-7-2) at Colorado (33-15-10-4) 8:00 pm EST

DENVER (Ticker) -- Mike Kitchen makes his coaching debut Thursday night as the struggling St. Louis Blues visit the Pepsi Center to take on the Colorado Avalanche.

The Blues have lost consecutive games after a three-game winning streak and are just 7-14-3-1 in their last 25 contests. On Tuesday, coach Joel Quenneville was fired and replaced by Kitchen.

Quenneville had served as Blues coach since January 1997 and guided them to five seasons of 90-plus points. He seemed on his way to a sixth straight playoff trip when St. Louis stormed to a 20 wins in its first 30 games.

The 45-year-old Quenneville captured Coach of the Year honors after guiding the Blues to a franchise-record 114 points in the 1999-00 season and was the second-longest tenured coach in the NHL behind Jacques Martin of Ottawa.

Kitchen was in his sixth season as an assistant coach after spending nine seasons in the same capacity with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 45-year-old Kitchen played eight seasons in the NHL as a defenseman.

The Blues have not missed the playoffs since 1979, but are ninth in the Western Conference, two points behind Nashville for the eighth and final playoff spot.

On Sunday, Keith Tkachuk and defenseman Eric Weinrich scored for the Blues in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Weinrich, who was acquired from Philadelphia on February 9, scored his first goal since January 28.

Colorado is three points in front of the Vancouver Canucks for the lead in the Northwest Division, despite losing four of its last four games.

Defensemen Rob Blake and Adam Foote returned for the Avalanche on Tuesday, but they were blanked, 2-0, by the Calgary Flames. Blake had missed seven games with a hairline fracture in his left leg and Foote sat out the previous two contests with a groin injury.

Avalanche center Peter Forsberg has missed four games with a groin injury and has been limited to just 32 contests this season. One of the best two-way players in the NHL, Forsberg has 17 goals and 31 assists this season.

Colorado has totaled just two goals in its last four defeats.

The Blues edged the Avalanche, 2-1, here in the first meeting of the season on October 12. The Avalanche had a tie and a win in two contests at St. Louis and are 20-13-6-1 all-time at home vs. the Blues.