The Columbus Blue Jackets (1-1-1) rumble into Denver tonight to take on the Colorado Avalanche (1-1) before the Avs embark on a 4-game road trip Saturday in San Jose. Columbus is coming off an ugly loss last night in Phoenix (5-1), and finishing off a back-to-back set with lots of travel, so hopefully the Avalanche and their young legs can take it to the BJs early and bury their road weary foes before Columbus can catch their [mile high] breath.
Tonight's opponent will have a different look than Avs fans are accustomed to as franchise cornerstone Rick Nash was finally granted leave, replaced with an array of spare parts and peripheral pieces with potential. It's yet to be seen how the trade will affect the BJs, but the Bshirts haven't exactly come out of the gates flying either with just 1 win coming last night via
the shootout OT versus Boston. A few players to keep an eye on for Columbus are talented second year center Ryan Johansen (the 4th overall pick in 2010), and the pint-sized Cam Atkinson, who's relentless pursuit of the puck reminds me a lot of this fella. It will also be an interesting battle in net when countrymen Sergei Bobrovsky and Semyon Varlamov go toe to toe for Mother Russia!
Tonight's BIG question is: when the hell do we get to watch Bordy drop the gloves already!?! In all seriousness, as badly as I yearn to marvel in the pugilistic glory of the Avs' new enforcer, I am impressed at how disciplined and trustworthy Bordy has played thus far. He's been tough and punishing without getting horribly out of position or chasing anybody. Bordello of Blood would even have an assist to go along with his splendid play, but somehow the scorekeepers gave his assist to Olver. You make the call.
Who's HOT: The Avs are coming off their best period of hockey when they erupted for 3 goals in the third period against the LA Kings in the home opener Tuesday night. Captain Gabriel Landeskog was especially majestic in the contest: hitting, picking pockets, and scoring the goal that incited the comeback. Eric Johnson also enjoyed a beastly game laying big time hits and making confident plays with the puck. EJ's deft pass from behind the net to Parenteau to seal the victory was a thing of beauty. Duchene and Varlamov continued their strong play from game 1 as well. The Avs defense had a strong game top to bottom (Barrie's weird and ill-fated stomach slide defensive techniques aside) and Greg Zanon looked like a good role player - on the PK especially.
Who's COLD: Despite Jones' blistering wrister that simply and soundly beat Quick, the line of Jones-Stastny-McGinn has yet to rediscover their magic of yester-season. Each player is a +/- -3, and the only minus players on the squad. Tyson Barrie is skating on some seriously thin ice and as of this writing, it sounded like he would be scratched in favor of Matt Hunwick.
INJURY REPORT: Well, we knew it would strike some time. The injury bug has bitten early this shortened season in the form of a torn ACL for Steve Downie. This is incredibly bad news as it's been reported that Downie will be out the rest of the season. Yes, his awful penalties helped cost the Avs' season opener, but Downie hurt his knee on a monstrous shift where he threw 3 GINORMUS hits in one shift, the last hit resulting in the injury. You gotta feel for the guy. He waits 8 months to play hockey only to hurt himself 2nd game in, and now he has to wait another 8 months. Epic bummer. Adrian Dater reports Chuck Kobasew will take Downie's place in the line-up and that Brad Malone has been recalled from Lake Erie.
Matt Duchene appears no worse for the wear after taking a Drew Doughty rolling-puck slapper off his jaw. Duchene left and got mended, but still led all forwards in ice time, and
also went 11 for 13 in faceoffs. Boo. Yah is rad.
STAT O' THE DAY: Of the 18 skaters (forwards & D) to have suited up for the Avs this season, 14 have a single point, and no one has more than that 1 solitary point. That translates into widespread equality, scoring by committee.
Game Time: 7:00 pm MT, 3:00 GMT TV: FS-O, ALT, Radio: ALT Radio with Moser