After a 9-4 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday, the Colorado Avalanche looks to keep the momentum up when it faces the Columbus Blue Jackets at Pepsi Center on Saturday. The Avs improved their record to 9-5-2 this season, earning 20 of the possible 32 points, putting the club in a tie for second place in the Central Division with the Predators.
Nathan MacKinnon notched a four-point (one goal, three assists) night against the Preds to extend his season total to 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists). Cale Makar had a three-point (one goal, two assists) outing on Thursday to increase his totals to 15 points (two goals, 13 assists), putting him in second place for Colorado and first place among all NHL rookies.
The Blue Jackets own a 6-7-3 record this season after defeating the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 on Thursday. Columbus is 3-2-2 as the visiting team and has allowed the 12tg most goals against as the visiting team in the NHL this year (28). The matchup in Colorado is the second of a three-game road trip for the Blue Jackets that will finish against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.
Avalanche vs. Columbus Blue jackets
Pepsi Center | Denver, Colo.
Avs left wing Matt Calvert was selected by Columbus in the fifth round (127th overall) of the 2008 NHL Draft and played eight seasons with the club before coming to Colorado in 2018… Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole finished the 2017-18 season with the Blue Jackets, appearing in 20 regular-season games and six playoff games…T.J. Tynan was a third-round pick (No. 66 overall) of Columbus in 2011 and played three games with the Blue Jackets in 2016-17… Colorado head coach Jared Bednar was the head coach of Columbus' AHL affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters, and guided the team to the 2016 Calder Cup championship…Avs assistant coach Nolan Pratt was an assistant coach for the Monsters that year…Colorado assistant general manager Chris MacFarland spent 16 years in hockey operations for the Blue Jackets, including eight as the assistant general manager… Blue Jacketts assistant coach Brad Larsen was draftted by Colorado (fourth round, 87th overall) in 1997 and spent his first four-plus seasons with the Avs ... Columbus defenseman Seth Jones' father, Popeye Jones, played for the Denver Nuggets in 1999-00.
Colorado owns a 38-16-5 record all-time against Columbus with a 20-9-1 mark as the home team. The Avs fell to the Blue Jackets in both matchups during the 2018-19 season, losing 5-2 on the road in October and 6-3 at home in February. It was the first year since the 2015-16 season that Colorado went without a win in the season series against Columbus.
Defenseman Erik Johnson notched three points (one goal, two assists) last season to lead the team and he has 21 points (four goals, 17 assists) in 31 career outings against the Blue Jackets. Nathan MacKinnon and Samuel Girard each also recorded one goal and one assist in the two outings versus Columbus last year.
Nathan MacKinnon left Thursday's game with an upper-body injury but is expected to return to the lineup for Saturday. The Avalanche recalled forward Jayson Megna from the Colorado Eagles on Friday afternoon.
Nikita Zadorov is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury…Colin Wilson and Philipp Grubauer are day-to-day with lower-body injuries…Mikko Rantanen remains week-to-week with a lower-body injury… Gabriel Landeskog is out of the lineup indefinitely with a lower-body injury.
SCOUTING THE BLUE JACKETS
Columbus finished the 2018-19 season with 98 points and a 47-31-4 record. The Blue Jackets entered the Stanley Cup Playoffs as a wild card club and swept the Tampa Bay Lighting in four games and fell to the Boston Bruins in six games in the second round.
Pierre-Luc Dubois (11 points; six goals, five assists) and Gustav Nyquist (10 points; three goals, seven assists) lead the Blue Jackets offensively. Nyquist factored on all three goals on Thursday in Columbus' 3-2 win at the Arizona Coyotes. Every player on the team's roster that has skated in five or more games has tallied at least one point this season.
The Blue Jackets are 6-7-3 this season after losing five of their last six games. The club has earned 15 of the possible 32 points and has scored 38 goals this season, tied for the fewest in the league.
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: Pierre-Luc Dubois
Pierre-Luc Dubois led the Blue Jackets last season with three goals against the Avalanche during the two-game season series. He ended the 2018-19 regular season bid with 61 points (27 goals, 34 assists) to put him in third place on the team's leaderboard. This season, he has earned a team-high 11 points (six goals, five assists) over 16 games and recorded an assist in the Blue Jackets' victory over Arizona.
This is Dubois' third season in the NHL after being drafted third overall by Columbus in the 2016 draft. He has tallied 120 career points (53 goals, 67 assists) in 180 NHL contests.
The NHL announced on Friday that Colorado will play a two-game series against the Blue Jackets in Finland in 2020 as part of the NHL Global Series. This will be the third time that the Avalanche has played in Europe since moving to Colorado in 1995. The club participated in the 2001 NHL Challenge in Stockholm against the Swedish Brynäs Gävle and played a pair of games in the 2017 NHL Global Series against the Ottawa Senators in Stockholm. This will be Colorado's first time competing in Helsinki for the Global Series.
Colorado's nine goals in Thursday's win over Nashville were the most scored by any NHL team this season and an Avalanche-high since 2007. In fact, it marked only the fifth time that Colorado has scored nine or more times in a game since relocating from Quebec.
The matchup against Columbus will mark Joonas Donskoi's 300th career NHL game. He has earned 133 total points (53 goals, 80 assists) and has a career plus-17 rating. Donskoi was the 99th overall pick of the 2010 draft in the fourth round by the Florida Panthers and played parts of six years with Kärpät in Finland before joining the NHL with the San Jose Sharks in 2015. In his first season as a member of the Avalanche, Donskoi has tallied 11 points (eight goals, three assists) over 16 games and recorded his first career hat trick on Thursday against the Predators.
Cale Makar leads all rookies in the NHL with 15 points (two goals, 13 assists) and he is also first in assists by a first year player…Makar recorded three points (one goal, two assists) on Thursday, matching an Avalanche single-game record for a first-year defenseman…Nathan MacKinnon has taken 82 shots this season, the second most in the league behind the Washington Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin…This is the first of a two-game season series for the Avs and Blue Jackets with the finale coming in Columbus on Feb.8…The Avs have 58 goals for this season, putting the club in seventh place in the NHL…This is the final game at home before Colorado goes on a five-game road trip, playing four of the next five contests in Canada.