The Colorado Avalanche host the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight in an attempt to extend their three-game winning streak. In order to keep the streak alive, the Avalanche will have to do it without their number one goalie as Semyon Varlamov is on the shelf with a “muscular injury”.
Columbus comes to town with a 23-15-3 record, but they have the lowest goal total of any team currently in an Eastern Conference playoff spot. The Blue Jackets have struggled offensively this season, so this would be a good chance for Jonathan Bernier to build some confidence as he might be in the Avs’ net for the foreseeable future.
Back in the basement of the Central Division, the Avalanche will look for a win to keep pace with Chicago and Minnesota.
Despite an overtime win against the Jets on Tuesday, the Avs were badly outplayed most of the night. Colorado was outshot 44-26 and once again relied heavily on the top line to carry the load.
With Varly out, the team is going to have to limit the scoring chances against and hope that Jonathan Bernier can be a lot better than he’s been so far this season.
The pairing of Samuel Girard and Anton Lindholm were dominated at 5v5, so hopefully coach Bednar thinks about mixing things up a little on the blue line.
Nathan MacKinnon is now tied with Nikita Kucherov for the most primary points in the NHL, now is the time for lines 2,3 and 4 to help him out a little.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
A.J. Greer - Alex Kerfoot - Nail Yakupov
Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau
Colin Wilson - Tyson Jost - Gabriel Bourque
Nikita Zadorov - Erik Johnson
Samuel Girard - Anton Lindholm
Patrik Nemeth - Mark Barberio
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets come into town sitting 3rd in the Metropolitan Division but only have a 4-4-2 record over their past ten games. We have a more in-depth preview of Columbus with Alison Lukan of The Athletic here.
Artemi Panerin - Pierre-Luc Dubois - Nick Foligno
Sonny Milano - Boone Jenner - Josh Anderson
Matt Calvert - Lukas Sedlak - Oliver Bjorkstrand
Tyler Motte - Jordan Schroeder - Markus Hannikainen
Zach Werenski - Seth Jones
Jack Johnson - Scott Harrington
Markus Nutivaara - David Savard
Thanks to the injury to the Avs starter, Jonathan Bernier will make his 15th start of the season tonight. He has a well below-average sv% of .898 and will have to be a lot better than he has been for most of the season.
On the flip side, the Blue Jackets can rely on one of the best in the game. Sergei Bobrovsky hasn’t been playing as well as he did in the past two seasons but he has a 19-11-3 record on the season while putting up a .919 sv%. He hasn’t been confirmed as the starter yet, but he’s likely to get the nod in net.
How to Watch/Listen
As always, the game will be broadcast on Altitude at 7pm MST and can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio 950.
It will also be on Fox Sports Ohio for Avs fans outside of Colorado.