With their latest loss to St. Louis out of the way, the Colorado Avalanche can get back to beating up on the rest of the Central Division.
But they'll be doing it without one of their star players.
The Avalanche continue a four-game homestand Monday night against the Winnipeg Jets, but Colorado will be without the services of Paul Stastny, who has been sidelined with a sore back.
Stastny suffered back spasms following his first shift on Saturday against Central Division-leading St. Louis. He didn't return to the game. Stastny is one of the team's top offensive threats with 20 goals and 27 assists this season.
With Stastny sidelined, rookie Nathan MacKinnon will take over at centre on a line that also will include captain Gabriel Landeskog and Jamie McGinn.
Colorado (41-18-5) is yet to pick up a point in three matchups with St. Louis this season, but is 15-3-2 against the rest of the competitive Central - including a 2-0-1 mark against second-to-last Winnipeg (30-28-7).
A 2-1 home loss Saturday against the Blues denied the Avalanche a chance to move into second place in the Central, but coach Patrick Roy wasn't upset with the effort as his club's four-game winning streak came to an end.
"I think we showed a lot of good things out there," Roy told the team's official website. "It was a lot different than the last two times we played these guys. We were physical; we had some good body check. It was a good game.
"We beat Detroit [on Thursday], but I thought we played better tonight than we played Detroit. Sometimes unfortunately you're not always rewarded for the way you play and your effort. I thought we had better chances than them. I thought we deserved to win as much as they did."
P.A. Parenteau's third-period tally got Colorado within a goal, but it wasn't able to complete the comeback, and MacKinnon came up one game short of matching the longest point streak in the NHL this season. The rookie's streak ended at 13 games, a league record for an 18-year-old.
However, Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly both assisted Parenteau to extend their own personal streaks. Duchene's seven-game stretch with 11 points is a career high, while O'Reilly's six straight games (10 points) are one shy of a personal best.
Winnipeg has won seven times in 23 games against Central foes and has just six games within the division remaining. Before heading to Colorado for a quick one-game trip, the Jets went winless on a three-game homestand, including Saturday's particularly frustrating 5-3 loss to Ottawa. They lost despite outshooting the Senators 49-32.
Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec allowed five goals on 20 shots before being replaced by Al Montoya in the second period. Pavelec was 0-2-1 with a 4.35 goals-against average on the homestand.
Reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2007 will require the Jets to surge past Vancouver, Phoenix and Dallas. The Stars hold the eighth spot in the Western Conference with a five-point advantage over 11th-place Winnipeg.
After returning from Colorado, a crucial three-game homestand follows with games against Vancouver and Dallas.
"We're still confident," defenceman Mark Stuart told the team's official website. "Of course it wasn't quite the week we wanted, but we've got to move on here. We've got to continue to push."
The Avalanche also have reason to properly tune up against the Jets with second-place Chicago coming to Denver on Wednesday.