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