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Avalanche move on without Duchene, face Jackets

by Eric Goodman

AVALANCHE (47-21-6) at BLUE JACKETS (38-30-6)


Last 10: Colorado 6-3-1; Columbus 5-4-1

Season series: This is the second and final game between these cross-conference teams. The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-3 on Dec. 31, with goals from five different players.

Big story: The Avalanche's leading scorer, Matt Duchene, will miss about four weeks with a knee injury suffered in a 3-2 win against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday. Colorado secured a Stanley Cup Playoff berth Saturday, so Duchene is expected to miss at least the first week of the postseason, which begins Apr. 16.


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Team Scope:

Avalanche: Missing an offensive leader like Duchene creates a challenge for first-year coach Patrick Roy, but he is focused on filling the hole at center. Roy said Monday after practice that center Nathan MacKinnon will be flanked by Ryan O'Reilly and Jamie McGinn, with Paul Stastny centering a line of Gabriel Landeskog and Johh Mitchell making the shift to right wing.

Roy remains confident in his team, which qualified for the playoffs for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

"We've been finding ways to win since the start of the year. We've played games without [Stastny] and [Landeskog]," Roy said. "I want everyone to know that I'm proud of them for what they've accomplished. We're not satisfied. We want home-ice advantage."

Blue Jackets: Columbus closes out the regular season with a stretch of eight games in 12 days. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (flu-like symptoms) is expected to start, but forward Nathan Horton (lower-body injury) will not play Tuesday.

"There is a lower-body issue that [Horton] is dealing with and now we have to start making decisions on how we're going to handle it," coach Todd Richards said. "He's out [Tuesday] and possibly beyond."

Right wing Jared Boll will replace Horton in the lineup, making his first appearance for the Blue Jackets since Nov. 22. Columbus lost four of its past five home games (1-3-1), but remains in the final spot for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

Who's hot: Landeskog scored in three straight games for the Avalanche, totaling three goals and two assists. … Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski is in the midst of a three-game assist streak with five assists over that span.

Injury report: In addition to Duchene, Avalanche right wing PA Parenteau (torn right MCL) is out. Roy is hopeful he could return for the April 13 regular-season finale … Besides Horton (lower body), Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray (knee surgery) is out.

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