A game against the Columbus Blue Jackets could be just what the slumping Colorado Avalanche need to avoid their longest losing streak in more than eight years.
Colorado (7-9-2) looks to end a four-game skid and continue its domination of Columbus (5-10-1) when the teams meet at Nationwide Arena on Friday night.
The Avalanche allowed San Jose to score power-play goals 17 seconds apart in the third period and lost 4-3 on Wednesday. Colorado hasn't dropped five in a row in a season since March 30-April 11, 1998. The Avs lost their final three games of 2005-06 before dropping their first two this season.
"If we play like we did tonight, we will find a way to win games," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "The recipe for success is playing like that."
One part of the recipe that was missing, though, was success on the power play. The Avalanche have failed to convert on 17 opportunities in the last three games.
A matchup with Blue Jackets presents an excellent chance for the Avalanche to get back on track. Colorado is 19-1 with one tie in 21 meetings with Columbus, outscoring the Blue Jackets 87-29. The Avs have won six straight in the series since a 5-4 overtime loss at Nationwide Arena on Feb. 28, 2004.
The Blue Jackets were also victimized by a pair of quick goals in their last game, giving up two in a 31-second span of the third period and losing 5-4 to Nashville on Wednesday.
The game was Columbus' first under interim coach Gary Agnew, who replaced the fired Gerard Gallant.
"We played a sound team and found a way to get a lead," said Columbus captain Adam Foote, who spent his first 13 seasons with the Quebec/Colorado franchise. "We battled hard. We just can't lose that lead."
The Blue Jackets have dropped three in a row, the last two by one goal.
Struggling Colorado goaltender Jose Theodore has had success against Columbus, going 3-1 with a 1.75 goals-against average in four games. Theodore has lost three consecutive starts and was pulled in the one before that, allowing 12 goals in that span.
Avs center Joe Sakic has 10 goals and 20 assists in 19 games against the Blue Jackets. The Colorado captain has 18 points in 10 games at Nationwide Arena.
While the Blue Jackets didn't win their first game under Agnew, they did reach the four-goal mark for only the third time in the last 13 games. Columbus has a league-low low 37 goals.
Rick Nash scored twice against the Predators, giving him a team-leading six on the season and moving one ahead of David Vyborny for the franchise lead with 95. Nash had scored only once in the last 12 contests.
Vyborny, who hasn't scored in five games, has four goals and nine assists in 21 games against Colorado.