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Game 18 Preview: Avalanche @ Blue Jackets

After pulling off the third period comeback in Minnesota on Saturday, the Avalanche (8-9-0) head to Columbus (10-4-2) to finish up a three game trip.

Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday night was looking like another disappointing finish for the Avalanche. After coming up short of the comeback against the Stars on Thursday, the Avs looked like they had dug themselves another hole that would be too large to overcome. Playing a Minnesota team that was the best defensive team in the NHL, the Avs had one period to make up a two goal deficit. As they did on Thursday night, the Avs looked toward their number one center, Nathan MacKinnon to save the day, and for the second game in a row, MacKinnon answered.

MacKinnon has had a very rough year so far, seeming to have the worst luck in all the NHL as he continuously accumulated shots and failed to find the back of the net. In the last few games, however, MacKinnon has taken over games in a fashion in which we haven't seen since the playoffs of his rookie season. MacKinnon has totaled 21 shots in the last three games and has fueled two straight come-from-behind efforts with a goal and an assist in each, the second ending in a 3-2 victory against Minnesota. MacKinnon has seemed to return to the dominate offensive form expected of him in his fourth year in the NHL.

The Avs will also look to have the return of their leading goal scorer, Matt Duchene to the line-up soon. Duchene has missed the last three games with a concussion, but is showing strong signs of a return in recent days. If he returns, he will likely play on a line with Carl Soderberg and rookie AJ Greer.

The Avs will be taking on a hot Blue jacket team that is 8-1-1 in their last ten and is coming off a 3-2 win in Washington Sunday night. After defeating the league's best defensive team, the Avs get a shot at the league's second best defensive team on Monday.












- Only the Philadelphia Flyers and Calgary Flames have allowed more first period goals than the Avalanche.

- Only the Minnesota Wild have allowed fewer goals than the Blue Jackets 37 goals against this season.

- The Blue Jackets average the fewest shots per game of any team in the NHL.


Game Time: 5pm MT