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Game #9 Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets head west to face shorthanded Colorado Avalanche

Here’s what you need to know.

Colorado Avalanche v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images

Columbus Blue Jackets at Colorado Avalanche
Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 9:00 PM EDT
Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado
TV: Bally’s Sports Ohio - Radio: WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Mile High Hockey

Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-3-0, 10 points, 4th Metro, 7th East
@
Colorado Avalanche, 4-4-0, 8 points, 5th Central, 9th West

The Columbus Blue Jackets, after splitting the two eastern legs of their road trip 1-1, head to Denver for the third of three games on this mini road trip to take on the Colorado Avalanche. Originally scheduled to take place in Finland, these two games will instead take place across the country this week with the return leg in Columbus on Saturday night.

The Blue Jackets come into this game once again missing Max Domi, who entered COVID-19 protocols following the game against the New Jersey Devils and will be unavailable. Returning to the lineup is rookie Yegor Chinakhov, a healthy scratch the previous two games. Kevin Stenlund was also recalled from the Cleveland Monsters but is not expected to play.

The Colorado Avalanche have struggled to start to the season, limping to just a 4-4-0 record early in the season. The Avalanche sport a win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, but also a loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. Reasons for the Avalanche’s struggles, in addition to injuries (MacKinnon, Rantanen, Toews, Francouz, Burakovsky, Nichushkin have all missed time), are that the Avalanche sit just 28th in the league in power play percentage and 28th in the league in 5v5 save percentage. For a team with a raft of goal scoring and a stout defensive system, these numbers are uncharacteristic.

For the Blue Jackets to win, they will have to forecheck and take advantage of opportunities against a wounded and rudderless Avalanche team. Defensive stoutness will also be required, as a single mistake against the MacKinnon line can be a critical error.

Player to Watch

Patrik Laine

Patrik Laine has, quietly, had an outstanding start to the season. Overshadowed by players like Oliver Bjorkstrand, Laine’s eight points in eight games rank him second on the team. Laine, who had just 21 points in a Blue Jackets uniform after his arrival in Columbus last season, is on pace for 82 this season and has seen his offense return to form. In addition, Laine has been more noticeable in the 200 foot game - no one will ever mistake him for Sean Couturier, but he is making effort in other zones, which is all you can ask for from the offensive dynamo.

Jackets Notes

Jakub Voracek has seven points in his first eight games in his return to Columbus ... Zach Werenski’s 33:03 played on Sunday night set a career high by more than four minutes ... The Blue Jackets have not played the Avalanche since 2019-20, where the team went 0-2-0 with a 4-2 loss in Denver and a 2-1 loss in Columbus ... As a result of his positive test and subsequent placing in COVID-19 protocols, Max Domi is quarantining for ten days in the team hotel in New York

The Other Bench

The Avalanche have struggled this season, perhaps attributable to their below-league-average shooting percentage, in addition to their early season rash of injuries ... With Mikko Rantanen ruled out for the game, expect JT Compher to join Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog on the top line ... Devon Toews is expected to be ruled out for tonight’s game, but he could return for the matchup on Saturday - he did practice yesterday, though ... Valeri Nichushkin is still considered a week away, while Pavel Francouz is considered week-to-week

Season Series

11/03/2021 - CBJ @ COL
11/06/2021 - COL @ CBJ

Stats

Colorado Columbus
2.88 (15) GPG 2.75 (18)
3.38 (27) GAPG 2.75 (14)
12.9% (28) PP% 25.0% (9)
81.8% (27) PK% 77.8% (22)
51.37% (13) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 47.36% (25)
50.20% (14) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 45.56% (31)
7.18 (17) 5v5 Shooting % 7.02 (20)
.9096 (28) 5v5 Save % .9395 (7)
JT Compher, 4 G Leader Boone Jenner, 5
Nathan MacKinnon, 8 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 7
Nathan MacKinnon, 9 P Leader Oliver Bjorkstrand, 10
Nazem Kadri, 24 PIM Leader Jakub Voracek, Cole Sillinger, 10
2-2-0 Home / Road 1-2-0
4-4-0 Last 10 5-3-0

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Patrik Laine Boone Jenner Jakub Voracek
Yegor Chinakhov Jack Roslovic Oliver Bjorkstrand
Gus Nyquist Cole Sillinger Gregory Hofmann
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Alexandre Texier
Zach Werenski Jake Bean
Vladislav Gavrikov Gavin Bayreuther
Adam Boqvist Scott Harrington
Elvis Merzlikins
Joonas Korpisalo
Colorado Avalanche
Gabriel Landeskog Nathan MacKinnon JT Compher
Simpo Ranta Nazem Kadri Logan O'Connor
Darren Helm Tyson Jost Martin Kaut
Jayson Megna Jacon MacDonald Kurtis MacDermid
Jack Johnson Bowen Byram
Erik Johnson Ryan Murray
Samuel Girard Devon Toews
Darcy Kuemper
Jonas Johannsson