DENVER - The Columbus Blue Jackets have usually struggled to win in Denver. This one looked pretty easy, though.
Fredrik Norrena had 30 saves, Jason Chimera and Derick Brassard had a goal and an assist each and Columbus got a rare win in Colorado, beating the Avalanche 4-2. Andrew Murray and Jan Hejda had a goal each and Norrena earned his first win of the season for the Blue Jackets, who ended a three-game losing streak.
"We've played a lot better than our record," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "This is now four solid games in a row that we've played. The big difference was we got the save at the right time and we got goal scoring from different people."
It came in a building where the Blue Jackets lost their first 10 games and 13 of their first 14. Since joining the NHL at the start of the 2000-01 season, the Blue Jackets are 2-13-0 in Denver. Before Thursday, Columbus' only victory in Colorado was a 3-0 win on Dec. 5, 2006, with Norrena in net.
"I knew I could win here, but I also knew it would take a good performance," said Norrena, who got his first win since March 26 against Chicago. "I'm a different guy leaving the building tonight. The first one is always the hardest."
Norrena made a couple of big saves, including one on Marek Svatos in the second period.
"It was a 1-0 game at that point and if they tie it they're probably going to come really hard at us," Norrena said. "We scored that second goal, and that was really important."
Chimera got that goal, his fourth of the season. He took a pass from Brassard, skated into the Colorado zone and ripped a slapshot over Andrew Raycroft's left shoulder with 11:30 left in the second period.
"It was a turnover in the neutral zone and Brass made a good play to get it to me," Chimera said. "I kind of walked to the top of the circle, I saw the top corner and tried to shoot there. Fortunately, it went in."
Brassard gave the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead with a similar goal just 1:38 into the game, his fourth of the year.
"There were two shots on the top shelf and it's tough for Razor to stop them," Chimera said.
Murray scored his second goal of the season at 13:50 of the second, and Hejda got his first goal 2:58 later to make it 4-0.
Paul Stastny and Tyler Arnason scored power-play goals for the Avalanche, who lost their second straight following a five-game winning streak. Raycroft, who finished with 10 saves, gave up four goals in his first 13 shots before being pulled in favour of Peter Budaj to start the third period.
"He struggled," Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. "He will tell you that he didn't have one of his better games."
It was Raycroft's first start since beating Dallas 5-4 on Oct. 18, but he wasn't using rust as an excuse.
"You have to make a save and when you don't it seems to compound it," he said. "The bottom line is I wasn't good enough."
He didn't get much help from Colorado's struggling offence. A week ago the Avalanche led the NHL in goals per game, but they have since struggled to score. They were shut out in Calgary on Tuesday and until Stastny's goal had scored just once over their past 179:58.
"We're trying to do too much," Stastny said. "We're trying to make the extra pass instead of putting the puck on net, go for the rebound and getting the ugly goals. Maybe we've been a little too fancy. When we were winning we got away with so many fancy goals."
Notes: Chimera's goal was his 50th with Columbus. ... Hejda's goal was his first in his past 115 games. ... Colorado outshot Columbus 14-3 in the third period. Avalanche D Scott Hannan played in his 600th career game Thursday. ... Colorado is 23-4-1-1 against Columbus.