The Colorado Avalanche continues its road trip on Saturday at the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Avs are coming off a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, where Cale Makar had the only multi-point effort of the game with a goal and an assist. Valeri Nichushkin and Ottawa forward Brady Tkachuk both scored in the first period to set up a 1-1 tie at the intermission, but Makar, Matt Nieto and J.T. Compher netted three unanswered goals to get Colorado the win.
Columbus is coming off a 2-0 shutout win over the Detroit Red Wings at home on Friday night. The Blue Jackets outshot the Red Wings 44-16, received goals from Zach Werenski and Boone Jenner and saw goalie Elvis Merzlikins stop every shot he faced in the victory. The Jackets will take on the Avalanche in the third game of their current four-game homestand.
The matchup is the second half of a back-to-back series for Columbus and the first half of one for the Avalanche. Colorado will finish its series and five-game road trip on Sunday at the Minnesota Wild.
Avalanche at Columbus blue jackets
Nationwide Arena | Columbus, Ohio
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 blueliner Ian Cole finished the 2017-18 season with the Blue Jackets, appearing in 20 regular-season games and six playoff contests… 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. He was also previously the head coach and assistant coach of the Jackets' AHL affiliate in Springfield from 2012-2015… Avs assistant coach Nolan Pratt was an assistant coach for the Monsters during that championship season and was an assistant in Springfield from 2011-2015… Colorado assistant general manager Chris MacFarland spent 16 years in hockey operations for the Blue Jackets, including eight as the assistant general manager… Blue Jackets assistant coach Brad Larsen was drafted 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 39-16-5 record all-time against Columbus, with a 18-7-4 mark as the visiting team.
The Avs defeated the Blue Jackets 4-2 earlier this season on Nov. 9 at Pepsi Center. Cale Makar scored twice in the game to notch the first multi-goal outing of his NHL career, while Samuel Girard and Nazem Kadri also tallied to help bring in the win for Colorado.
The clubs are set to face off in two games next fall in Helsinki, Finland, for the 2020 NHL Global Series.
Goaltender Philipp Grubauer has started each of the first three games of the road trip… The Avs are expected to split goalie starts in the back-to-back set between Grubauer and Pavel Francouz.
Colin Wilson is the only Avalanche player currently out with an injury. Wilson (lower body) is working on his rehabilitation after undergoing two surgeries earlier this season.
SCOUTING THE BLUE JACKETS
Columbus is in third place in the Metropolitan Division after earning 69 points and owning a 30-16-9 record. The Blue Jackets kill 82.6 percent of the penalties they take, tied for ninth in the league overall.
Columbus has won six straight on its home ice and has not lost at Nationwide Arena since Jan. 4. The Blue Jackets are on a 10-game point streak (9-0-1) and are tied for the third-most overtime wins in the NHL (seven).
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: Gustav Nyquist
Gustav Nyquist has tallied 35 points (12 goals, 23 assists) so far this season to rank second on Columbus. He is one of three Blue Jackets players that has scored a short-handed goal this season, and he ranks tied for second on Columbus with nine power-play points (three goals, six assists).
Nyquist was selected in the fourth round (No. 121 overall) of the 2008 draft by the Detroit Red Wings and signed with Columbus as a free agent in 2019. He has recorded 341 points (143 goals, 198 assists) in his 555 career games.
The Avs picked up their 16th road win of the season on Thursday against Ottawa. Colorado became only the third team to reach 16 road victories this campaign and the first in the Western Conference to do so.
Two Avalanche players reached the 40-point mark on Thursday night. Cale Makar became the first NHL rookie of the season to reach 40 points after recording a goal and an assist against the Senators (Vancouver Canucks' Quinn Hughes reached 40 points later in the night). This is the fourth season in NHL history that a defenseman became the first rookie to earn 40 points. Andre Burakovsky also notched an assist against the Senators to bring his season total to 40 points (17 goals, 23 assists), extending his career high for a season.
Colorado has allowed only 71 goals on the road this season, the third fewest in the league. Only the New York Islanders (62) and Boston Bruins (64) have allowed fewer.
Colorado is 14-5-3 (.705) against Eastern Conference opponents this season, which is the best points percentage of any Western Conference team versus Eastern opponents… Valeri Nichushkin found the back of the net on Thursday against Ottawa to extend his point streak to three games (two goals, three assists)… With an assist on Thursday, Andre Burakovsky extended his assist streak to a career-high four games and his point streak to six games… In the second period, the Avs have scored 39 goals on the road and 77 overall this season, lead the NHL in both categories… Ryan Graves ranks ninth in the league with 114 blocked shots… The Avs are starting their ninth of 12 back-to-back series of the season… Colorado is 5-3-0 in the first half and 3-4-1 in the second half of back-to-back games this year… The five-game road trip will conclude at the Minnesota Wild on Sunday.