This is not your older brother’s Colorado Avalanche.
There has been so much roster turnover in Colorado that former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote, who played there as recently as 2003-04, played with only nine players on the Avs current roster. Of those nine players, five of them (Clark, McCormick, Vaananen, Sauer and Svatos) combined to play in just 85 games with Foote that season.
Change might be a good thing for the Jackets, who have posted a 1-17-2 record in the all-time series against Colorado. Columbus will go for win No. 2 on Wednesday night, hosting the Avalanche at 7 p.m. at Nationwide Arena. Coverage on FSN Ohio begins at 6:30 p.m. with Ice Breaker.
After earning points in just one of the first 14 meetings with the Avs (0-13-1) and being out-scored 62-16 over that span, Columbus has gone 1-4-1, earning points in two-of-six, in the last six-pack of games, being out-scored just 19-10.
The Jackets even played better on the road last season, losing 3-2 at the Pepsi Center in the shootout to gain their first road points vs. the Avs on Jan. 7. The Jackets followed that up by falling 1-0 at Colorado on Mar. 2, with Pascal Leclaire making 39 saves.
Leclaire (3-3-1, 2.66) started three games against Colorado in 2005-06, going 0-2-1 with a 2.81 GAA and a .933 SV%, keeping the Jackets in games with his stout defense. Looking to provide offense, Rick Nash (3-4-7) and Sergei Fedorov (0-0-0) each tallied goals against Colorado last season and Fedorov has scored 17-26-43 all-time head-to-head with Denver’s team.
The more things change in Colorado, however, the more they stay the same. Joe Sakic is still wearing an Avalanche jersey, now entering his 18th season, all with Colorado/Quebec. Recently, Sakic (579-922-1501) became the 11th player in NHL history to reach the 1,500-point plateau, the first since Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux on Dec. 30, 2000.
Sakic, who leads his team in points with 5-7-12, is the active NHL leader in career points, followed by the Rangers' Jaromir Jagr (1,445), his teammate Pierre Turgeon (1,320), Pittsburgh's Mark Recchi (1,271) and the Rangers' Brendan Shanahan (1,242).
Though many of his teammates which helped him raise the cup are gone, including the Jackets’ Foote, Sakic has watched young players begin to emerge and carry the load, such as forward Marek Svatos (3-8-11) and defenseman John-Michael Liles (3-8-11). A different former Montreal Canadien has taken over protection of the net, as Jose Theodore (3-3-0, 3.29) enters his first full season with Colorado as Patrick Roy has long since retired, now coaching the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL. All of these changes have translated to a 5-4-2 record, earning 12 points and fourth place in the Northwest Division, and eighth place in the Conference standings.
Columbus will sport its third jerseys, where the club is 1-1-0 this season. As always, Huntington Green Seats will be available for tonight's game and every game during the 2006-07 season. The Huntington Green Seats are 250 seats that are priced at $10 for every home game this season and are available only at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, two hours prior to game time. For tonight's game each person may purchase a maximum of four seats.
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