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Home Stretch Closes Against Blue Jackets

Avalanche finishes its five-game homestand on Tuesday

by Dan Vatch / ColoradoAvalanche.com

In the final regular-season meeting between the two clubs, the Colorado Avalanche (22-21-8) hosts the Columbus Blue Jackets (28-20-3) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. MT at Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche owns a 38-15-5 all-time mark against the Blue Jackets, including a 20-8-1 record at home. Defenseman Erik Johnson leads Colorado skaters with 19 career points (three goals, 16 assists) in 30 matchups against Columbus.

This is the last contest of a season-long, five-game homestand for the Avalanche, which began on Jan. 19 and was split up by the All-Star break and the team's bye week.

After the clash at Pepsi Center, the Avs hit the road for a three-game trip on the East Coast, starting with a 5 p.m. MT game on Thursday against the defending-Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.

Last Time Out

The Avs fell 5-1 to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday at Pepsi Center in the club's first action since its mid-season break. Matt Calvert was the goal scorer for Colorado, as Nikita Zadorov and Matt Nieto each picked up a helper. Avalanche netminder Semyon Varlamov made 21 saves on the night. With 32 hits as a team, it was the fifth game this season that the Avalanche had recorded at least 30 hits.

Columbus fell 4-2 to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday at Nationwide Arena. Oliver Bjorkstrand and Pierre-Luc Dubois each netted a marker in the third period, as Artemi Panarin registered two helpers. Cam Atkinson also contributed an assist, and Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo made 29 saves in the loss.

Last Time They Met

Colorado dropped a 5-2 contest to the Blue Jackets on Oct. 9 at Nationwide Arena in the first meeting of the two-game season series between the clubs. Nathan MacKinnon and Carl Soderberg each tallied a goal as Samuel Girard, Erik Johnson, Alexander Kerfoot and Mikko Rantanen picked up a helper apiece for the visiting team. Nick Foligno scored twice for Columbus, while Pierre-Luc Dubois, Artemi Panarin and Josh Anderson each tallied markers of their own in the win. Colorado goaltender Philipp Grubauer turned away 30 shots in his first game as a member of the Avalanche, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 25 stops between the pipes for the Blue Jackets.

What To Watch

Something's Gotta Give

Since the start of the New Year, Columbus has recorded a 96.4-percent penalty kill rate to lead the league in that stretch. Colorado has reached the twine nine times with the man advantage, tied for seventh in the NHL during that span. For the season, the Avalanche ranks fifth in the league in power-play percentage (24.7 percent) while the Blue Jackets are seventh overall on the penalty kill (83.2 percent).

The Hits Keep Coming

In their last two contests, the Avs recorded 32 hits against Vancouver on Saturday and 34 hits versus the Minnesota Wild on Jan. 23, the most hits in a two-game span this season for the club. Defenseman Nikita Zadorov paces the team with 118 hits in 40 games this year.

Players To Watch

Colorado: Left Wing Matt Calvert

Calvert reached the back of the net in the 5-1 loss to Vancouver on Saturday night, giving him 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) on the year. The former Blue Jacket has reached the 20-point plateau in five of his previous eight NHL seasons and is one point away from reaching the mark during the 2018-19 campaign. Calvert spent his first eight years in Columbus where he recorded 149 points (72 goals, 77 assists) in 416 regular-season outings.

Columbus: Left Wing Artemi Panarin

Panarin has reached the scoresheet in each of his last four outings (two goals, five assists) for Columbus. The Russian forward presently leads the Blue Jackets in scoring with 59 points (20 goals, 39 assists) in 49 contests. In 12 career games against the Avs, Panarin has registered 12 points (five goals, seven assists), including a goal in his last effort against Colorado on Oct. 9 at Nationwide Arena.

The Details

Tuesday's clash between the Avalanche and Blue Jackets is scheduled for 7 p.m. MT. The game can be watched locally on Altitude or streamed on select devices with the Altitude Now app (in market) or NHL.tv (out of market). The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio FM 92.5 in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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