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Game 27: Avalanche At Blue Jackets, Preview And Open Thread

I've said it before, but really, I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.  The Avs are just three games above .500, just two points ahead of Edmonton, and mired in lowly third place in the Northwest Division.  To make matters even more brain-melting, the Central Division is just as (if not more) competitive as the Northwest this season, and the Blue Jackets have a winning record.  

What the hell is going on?

Luckily there are a number of factors about this game that make me feel better.  For one, the Avs have always owned the Blue Jackets, and rarely if ever lose to them (even on the road!).  For two, Peter Budaj is back in net and Marek Svatos will return to the lineup after a brief groin-related sidelining.

Also good news is that Ian Laperriere is back and will likely start tonight.  Lappy being gone for so long has really hurt the Avalanche, and now that Wyatt Smith is gone, the checking line of Ben Guite, Lappy and Cody McCormick can wreak some real havoc on the ice.  And the Blue Jackets had better be careful, because Lappy's not going to be happy.

Yeah, Lappy, it's been bad while you've been away.

Super Joe's Super Groin is still not feeling super healthy, apparently, because he didn't fly with the Avs to Ohio for this game.  Let's hope this lower body injury doesn't mean an extended time out for the captain, even if he has looked like he kind of needs a break.

The game starts at 5:00 PM Mountain time, 7:00 PM Eastern.  Finally I can be somewhat coherent when I blog!  Not that it matters too much, I suppose, since game threads always seem to end up as a string of boob shots anyway.  For that, I sincerely apologize.  See everyone here for the game.

ESPN preview.