Blue Jackets-Avalanche Preview
GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (8-13-3-1) at Colorado Avalanche (14-7-3-1).
TIME: Saturday, 9 p.m. EST.
The Colorado Avalanche, facing a team they've never lost to, look to match
their longest unbeaten streak of the season at five games when they host the
Columbus Blue Jackets.
Colorado skated to a 2-2 tie Thursday with the San Jose Sharks to improve to
2-0-2 in its last four contests. The Avs had a season-high, five-game unbeaten
streak (4-0-1) from Nov. 2-11.
Colorado fell behind 2-0, but Rob Blake scored 2:53 into the third period
and John-Michael Liles scored a rebound goal just over four minutes later. The
Avalanche have lost in regulation just twice in their last 15 games.
"We dig ourselves a 2-0 hole, and sometimes it takes you 50 or 60 minutes
to get back into it," Avs coach Tony Granato said. "We didn't play great the
first 40 minutes, but we stuck around to salvage a point out of it. Once we
fell behind, David (Aebischer) made some big saves for us."
Aebischer made 25 saves to improve to 8-1-3 in his last 12 appearances.
The Avs will be looking to tie their season-high unbeaten streak against a
Columbus team they are 11-0-1 against all-time.
Colorado has outscored the Blue Jackets 27-9 in winning all six games
between the teams at the Pepsi Center, and Columbus comes into this contest as
the only team in the NHL without a win away from home this season.
The Blue Jackets, 0-8-1-1 on the road, lost 4-2 at home to the Nashville
Predators on Thursday to fall to 1-3-1 in their last five games.
One bright spot for Columbus was the play of 19-year-old Nikolai Zherdev,
who scored his first NHL goal, assisted on Rick Nash's 17th goal of the season
and had another goal disallowed in just his second game.
Nash was impressed with Zherdev, the No. 4 pick in last summer's draft who
left Russia on Sunday.
"He reminds me a lot of (Atlanta star Ilya) Kovalchuk and how he sees the
ice, his hands," Nash said. "I think he could have had about six goals