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Preview: Avalanche at Blue Jackets

Forward Matt Duchene returns for Colorado; defenseman Seth Jones back for Columbus

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Correspondent

AVALANCHE (8-9-0) at BLUE JACKETS (10-4-2)

(7 p.m. ET; FS-O, ALT, NHL.TV)

 

Avalanche team scope

Forward Matt Duchene, who leads the Colorado Avalanche in goals (six) and is second in points (11), will play against the Columbus Blue Jackets after missing the past four games because of a concussion sustained Nov. 11 against the Winnipeg Jets. "Any other injury I've had I've tried to come back as quickly as possible," he said. "This one I really wanted to take my time because I don't want it coming back the rest of the year. ... I thought I'd be ready at the beginning of this road trip (Nov. 17 at the Dallas Stars." Coach Jared Bednar will look to Duchene for offense. "Hopefully that's a boost," he said. "We missed him when he was out." Nathan MacKinnon leads the Avalanche in scoring with 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 17 games, four more than Duchene, who may play wing on a line with center Carl Soderberg and Mikko Rantanen.

 

Blue Jackets team scope

Defenseman Seth Jones was activated from injured reserve on Monday after missing the past six games with a fractured foot. He has six points, including three goals, in 10 games and is the Blue Jackets leader in time on ice (24:14 per game). Jones will be paired with rookie Zach Werenski. "He's playing without me the same way he's been playing the whole year," Jones said. "We had pretty good communication before my injury. Hopefully we can keep that going." Jack Johnson and David Savard will be the second defense and rookie Markus Nutivaara will be with Ryan Murray for the third pairing. Coach John Tortorella was pleased with how the Blue Jackets responded in Jones' absence, going 5-0-1. "I was very nervous at the time, the way he was playing, of losing him," Tortorella said. "It's really good for our team to find some success with him out and now have him come back in here with some juice; hopefully that gets us to another level. That's the most encouraging thing." The Blue Jackets, winners of four straight seek to extend their record seven-game home winning streak. Curtis McElhinney will make his first start since Nov. 5 after Sergei Bobrovsky started each of the past six games.

 

Avalanche projected lineup

Andreas Martinsen -- Nathan MacKinnon -- AJ Greer

Matt Duchene -- Carl Soderberg -- Mikko Rantanen

Rene Bourque -- Mikhail Grigorenko -- Cody McLeod

Blake Comeau -- John Mitchell -- Jarome Iginla

Eric Gelinas -- Tyson Barrie

Fedor Tyutin -- Erik Johnson

Francois Beauchemin -- Patrick Wiercioch

Semyon Varlamov

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Nikita Zadorov, Joe Colborne

Injured: Gabriel Landeskog (lower body)

 

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Alexander Wennberg -- Nick Foligno

Boone Jenner -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Cam Atkinson

Matt Calvert -- William Karlsson -- Josh Anderson

Scott Hartnell -- Lukas Sedlak -- Sam Gagner

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Jack Johnson -- David Savard

Ryan Murray -- Markus Nutivaara

Curtis McElhinney

Sergei Bobrovsky

Scratched: Scott Harrington

Injured: David Clarkson (back), Dalton Prout (back)

 

Status report

Landeskog did not travel with the Avalanche. … Harrington will be a healthy scratch after playing three straight games. ... Blue Jackets forward Markus Hannikainen was returned to Cleveland of the American Hockey League. ...Tyutin, who signed with the Avalanche on July 1, is second on the Blue Jackets' career games played list with 553. There will be a video tribute to him in the first period. "Hopefully, I won't start crying," Tyutin said. "I'll try to keep cool, calm and collected."

 

Who's hot

MacKinnon has four points (two goals, two assists) in two games. … Columbus is off to the best start in franchise history after 16 games. The Blue Jackets were 10-6-0 in 2010-11. They were 4-12-0 after 16 games last season. … Werenski has 11 points, five of them goals, in nine home games.

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