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Game Preview: Avalanche at Blue Jackets

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After playing eleven of their last thirteen games on the road, the Avs will take a plane to Ohio to take on the last-place Blue Jackets.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

After two dud performances against the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning, Avalanche management decided it was time to shake up the roster before Thursday's game in New Jersey. Out went struggling defensemen Andrew Bodnarchuk, assigned to inactive bench duty, and Nate Guenin, who was placed on waivers and expected to join the AHL San Antonio Rampage. In their place, two top organizational prospects, Nikita Zadorov and Chris Bigras, were called up and immediately inserted into the lineup. The results overall were very positive, with Colorado shutting out the visiting Devils 3-0. Coach Patrick Roy will hope to see similar results against a struggling Columbus team that sits dead last in the Metropolitan Division and sports the worst record in the NHL.

Columbus has made some adjustments to their roster as well. Last week they sent struggling 23-year old center Ryan Johansson to Nashville in exchange for 21-year old defenseman Seth Jones. The swap of burgeoning young stars sent shockwaves throughout the league and set the tone for the remainder of the 2015-16 trade window. Jones has played four games for the Blue Jackets, scoring one assist in his nascent tenure. Columbus is 1-2-1 in that time span, winning their last game in Toronto 3-1.

Scott Hartnell leads the team with 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists) and is closely followed by Brandon Saad, who was picked up from the Blackhawks this offseason. Saad currently has 30 points (16 goals, 14 assists), on pace for career highs in each category.

The Avalanche are expected to run out the same lineup as Thursday, though Semyon Varlamov is expected to start back in net. We will update this post if we hear differently. Mike Chambers of the The Denver Post now reports that Calvin Pickard is expected to get his second straight start tonight after shutting out the Devils on Thursday.

Lineup

Alex Tanguay - Nathan MacKinnon - Matt Duchene

Gabriel Landeskog - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau

Andreas Martinsen - Chris Wagner - Jarome Iginla

Cody McLeod - John Mitchell - Jack Skille

*  *  *

Nikita Zadorov - Francois Beachemin

Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie

Chris Bigras - Zach Redmond

*  *  *

Semyon Varlamov

Calvin Pickard


Game Time

Puck drop at 5:00 PM MST at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.