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Blue Jackets, Avalanche meet for first time this season at Nationwide Arena

by Katie Foglia / Columbus Blue Jackets

The Colorado Avalanche are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games and, most recently, blanked the New Jersey Devils by a 3-0 final at Pepsi Center in Denver.

Goaltender Calvin Pickard made 27 saves for his first career shutout, and Matt Duchene, Tyson Barrie and Carl Soderberg scored a goal a piece.

That victory ended a two-game losing streak for Colorado, which had previously taken a 4-0 shutout loss at home to Tampa Bay earlier in the week.

The Avalanche have been dealing with injuries but have managed to stay in the Western Conference playoff race. Players currently on injured reserve include forwards Ben Street, Jesse Winchester, defensemen Erik Johnson and Brad Stuart, and goaltender Reto Berra.

One familiar name on the Avs roster will be defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk, who was claimed on waivers by Colorado on Jan. 5. Additionally, Jackets fans will remember Jack Skille, who played 61 games with the Jackets between the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.

Updates on the Jackets: Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and forward Markus Hannikainen were activated off injured reserve, GM Jarmo Kekalainen announced on Friday. The Jackets also assigned goaltender Anton Forsberg to Cleveland’s Lake Erie Monsters (AHL).

Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella said defenseman David Savard will be out longer than day-to-day, closer to weeks, before he returns to the lineup.

The last time these two teams met was on Oct. 24 at Pepsi Center. The game marked the Blue Jackets' ninth game of the 2015-16 season, and it was their first win of the campaign.

Here’s what happened: Jack Skille opened the scoring for the Avalanche just 2:21 into the first period, and Boone Jenner scored two goals in the frame to give the Jackets a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes of regulation.

The Avalanche evened the score and then added on in the second period, giving them a 3-2 lead at the end of two periods. But Ryan Murray’s goal at 3:56 of the third leveled the score, and at 6:43, Brandon Dubinsky scored what would be the game-deciding goal for Columbus.

The Jackets are 15-32-5 in the all-time series against the Avalanche. Additionally, the Jackets are 13-12-3, including the aforementioned win on Oct. 24, against Colorado since October 2007. 

Jarome Iginla, one of the best goal scorers in NHL history, comes into town with 12 goals on the year - good for third among all Avalanche players. Only Matt Duchene (22) and Nathan MacKinnon (15) have scored more goals than the ageless Iginla in 2015-16.

The 38-year-old NHL veteran is currently in the midst of his 20th NHL season and second with the Avalanche. He was signed by Colorado as a free agent on July 1, 2014.

On Jan. 4, Iginla scored his 600th career goal against the Los Angeles Kings, becoming the 19th player in NHL history to reach that milestone.

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