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Avalanche at Blue Jackets preview

Columbus seeking third straight win; Colorado coming off back-to-back overtime losses

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Correspondent

AVALANCHE (35-24-7) at BLUE JACKETS (34-28-5)

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

 

The Game

The Columbus Blue Jackets will try for their third straight victory when they play the Colorado Avalanche at Nationwide Arena on Thursday.

The Blue Jackets hold the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference; they are two points ahead of the Florida Panthers and four in front of the Carolina Hurricanes. Columbus trails the New Jersey Devils by three points for the first wild card.

Colorado has lost its past two games in overtime and is 4-1-3 in its past seven games. They are tied with the Los Angeles Kings for the second wild card from the Western Conference

 

Players to watch

Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon has 13 points (seven goals, six assists) during a six-game point streak. He leads the Avalanche and is tied with Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning for fifth in the NHL with 78 points (32 goals, 46 assists).

Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski has four points (two goals, two assists) in his past four games.

 

They said it

"We're disappointed how the last two ended. Those extra points, you could miss the playoffs by one point and look back and maybe that's it." -- Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie on losing the past two games in overtime

"This is a really fun time of the year. That's why the dog days are called that. Everyone wants to play now and you wish you could just fast forward to get here." -- Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno

 

Avalanche projected lineup

Tyson Jost -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Gabriel Landeskog -- Alexander Kerfoot -- J.T. Compher

Matt Nieto -- Carl Soderberg -- Blake Comeau

Sven Andrighetto -- Dominic Toninato -- Gabriel Bourque

Nikita Zadorov -- Tyson Barrie

Patrik Nemeth -- Samuel Girard

Duncan Siemens -- Anton Lindholm

Semyon Varlamov

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Mark Alt, Nail Yakupov

Injured: Mark Barberio (upper body), Andrew Hammond (concussion), Erik Johnson (upper body), Vladislav Kamenev (fractured arm), Colin Wilson (concussion)

 

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Artemi Panarin -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Cam Atkinson

Sonny Milano -- Nick Foligno -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Matt Calvert -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Mark Letestu

Thomas Vanek -- Alexander Wennberg -- Boone Jenner

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Ryan Murray -- Jack Johnson

Ian Cole -- David Savard

Joonas Korpisalo

Sergei Bobrovsky

Scratched: Taylor Chorney, Scott Harrington, Markus Hannikainen, Lukas Sedlak, Jeff Zatkoff

Injured: Dean Kukan (upper body), Markus Nutivaara (upper body), Josh Anderson (knee)

 

Status report

Varlamov will make his 10th straight start. Andrighetto (lower body) returns after missing 28 games since Dec. 31. Jost and Landeskog switched lines. … Korpisalo will make his second straight start while Bobrovsky recovers from illness. Korpisalo made 37 saves in a 4-1 win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.

 

Stat pack

Colorado is 18-6-2 with one tie in 27 games at Nationwide Arena. Barrie has two goals and four assists during a four-game point streak. … Dubois has four points (one goal, three assists) in the past two games.

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