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Columbus
Blue Jackets
41-31-10
Colorado
Avalanche
32-45-5

17 SOG
32 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
CBJ
COL
game preview

Blue Jackets-Avalanche Preview

Thursday, 10.30.2008 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

The Colorado Avalanche's high-powered offense finally ran out of goals in their last game, also bringing an end to the club's five-game winning streak.

The Columbus Blue Jackets, meanwhile, can only hope the end to their own - more ignominious - streak isn't far off.

The Avalanche will look to reignite their attack Thursday night when they host last-place Columbus, which hasn't scored a power-play goal during its current three-game losing streak.

After starting the season with three straight losses, Colorado (5-4-0) responded by reeling off five straight victories, scoring four or more goals four times over that span thanks to major contributions from youngster Paul Stastny, veteran Milan Hejduk and captain Joe Sakic.

That run ended Tuesday, when the Avs managed only two third-period shots in a 3-0 loss at Calgary.

"They stuck to their game plan and in the third it paid off for them," Colorado forward Ian Laperriere said. "They played hard, they played good defensively, and they didn't cheat on the offensive zone to get goals."

Combined with their 2-1 shootout win over Buffalo on Saturday and dating back to last Thursday's 4-1 win over Edmonton, the Avs have now scored just one goal in the last 140 minutes of play.

But the struggles go back even further for the Blue Jackets (3-6-0), who have scored four total goals during their three-game slide, falling into the Central Division cellar. They're 0-for-14 on the power play over that span, and they've scored two or fewer goals in five of their six losses.

There were promising signs Monday against Anaheim, as Columbus outshot the Ducks 24-14 through two periods and led 2-1. But backup goalie Fredrik Norrena allowed a pair of goals in the final period of the 3-2 loss.

"I hope they are, like I am, frustrated," Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said. "To play this well and give it away, I'd be frustrated."

In hopes of turning things around, Hitchcock will move leading goal-scorer Rick Nash from his typical left wing position to center for Thursday's game. Nash told his team's official Web site that he hasn't played center since he was "10 or 11 years old."

Norrena will likely remain in net, with starter Pascal Leclaire on injured reserve due to a sprained ankle. Norrena has only made two starts this season, but he is already 0-3-0 with a 3.55 goals-against average. He's been much better against the Avs, going 3-2 with a 1.86 GAA in five career appearances.

Colorado will also have a backup in net, as coach Tony Granato will give Andrew Raycroft his third start of the season and his first in 12 days. Raycroft has a 3.01 GAA this season, but he's won both of his outings, beating Philadelphia and Dallas.

The teams split four meetings last season, with the home team winning each time and the Avs outscoring Columbus 8-2 in two wins at the Pepsi Center.

The Blue Jackets fared much better last season against Colorado than they have historically. They're just 4-22-1 with a tie all-time, including 1-12-1 in Denver.

Veteran defenseman Adam Foote has seen both sides of the series. The 37-year-old spent 13 seasons with the Avalanche franchise before signing with Columbus in 2005. The Blue Jackets traded him back to Colorado last season, and Thursday's game will be his first against his former team.

2008-2009 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 10 '09COL 0 at CBJ 3A. Murray
Jan 13 '09COL 3 at CBJ 4M. Peca
Jan 02 '09CBJ 6 at COL 1R. Nash
Oct 30 '08CBJ 4 at COL 2A. Murray
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
J. Chimera10459+6610
D. Brassard10459+3210
J. Voracek10347+31200
K. Huselius10347-5620
R. Nash10516-1612
A. Murray10224-5401
C. Backman9134+0810
M. Commodore10044-21200
J. Novotny10123+2200
M. Methot6123+0200
R. Umberger10033-5400
F. Modin5033-5400
R. Klesla10112+1600
D. Dorsett9112-15601
F. Tyutin10022-2600
M. Peca5022-12400
J. Hejda10101-1400
N. Filatov4101+1000
M. Malhotra5011+4200
K. Russell5011-1000
A. Picard6000-12200
J. Boll5000-23300
O. Tollefsen1000+1500
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
P. Leclaire73-3-0211833.41.885
F. Norrena61-3-010803.08.875
D. Lacosta10-0-02193.43.895
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
P. Stastny103912+2831
M. Hejduk106410+3031
J. Sakic102810-2200
R. Smyth10437+0421
W. Wolski10167-3600
J. Leopold10235-1600
M. Svatos9145-1410
J. Liles10134-2210
D. Tucker10134-3900
C. McLeod10303+12400
I. Laperriere10123+04000
B. Guite5123+2400
T. Arnason10202-2211
D. Jones9112-5200
C. McCormick7112+21900
R. Salei10022+1400
B. Clark10101+1200
S. Hannan10011-2200
A. Foote10000-1400
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
P. Budaj83-4-0211922.86.891
A. Raycroft32-1-010623.75.839