Avalanche-Blue Jackets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 11, 2011
The Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets feel very differently about themselves after each team played a Stanley Cup finalist in its last game. The Avalanche will try to hand the stumbling Blue Jackets another loss Wednesday night when they continue a five-game road trip. Colorado (1-1-0) earned its first victory Monday, 1-0 at Stanley Cup champion Boston. The Avalanche became the last Western Conference team to score its first goal on Milan Hejduk's third-period tally, and Semyon Varlamov made it stand up with 30 saves. Coach Joe Sacco's team opened by getting outshot 39-29 in a 3-0 loss to Detroit on Saturday. "We've had two tough challenges to start the season," center Paul Stastny said. "It's easy to get up for these games, especially playing a team like this - the defending champs." Colorado likely won't face as great a challenge against Columbus (0-3-0), which has started with three straight losses for the first time. The Blue Jackets blew a third-period lead in Monday's 3-2 home loss to defending Western Conference champion Vancouver. "More than anything, that was three games in four nights for us," coach Scott Arniel said. "We had nothing left in the tank in the third period." The Avalanche have gone 7-1-0 against the Blue Jackets over the past two seasons. Stastny and Hejduk each had nine points and Matt Duchene seven in those games. Neither team has scored on the power play this season, with Colorado going 0 for 6 and Columbus 0 for 16. The Blue Jackets came up empty in five chances Monday. "You know what, our power play has to score," Arniel said. "I thought our power play was better tonight. I thought we created a lot of chances, a lot of second opportunities on shots." Compounding Columbus' problems has been a penalty-kill unit that has yielded four goals in 11 chances. In addition, Maksim Mayorov had a penalty shot saved against the Canucks. "Special teams are key in the NHL nowadays," left wing Vinny Prospal said. "We haven't scored one power-play goal in the three games and (Vancouver) had one (Monday), and it ended up being a winner." Steve Mason has started all three games, posting a 3.82 goals-against average. He won his first two starts against the Avalanche but has lost the last six while recording a 4.75 GAA. Varlamov, meanwhile, bounced back with his fifth career shutout after losing his Colorado debut. He has never faced Columbus. "It's great to have a goalie back there, like that," defenseman Ryan O'Byrne told the Avalanche's official website. "It gives us a lot of confidence up front." Colorado has killed off all six power-play chances by its opponents, and it could be poised to add to the frustrations of the Blue Jackets, whose fans have started booing the sputtering power play. "I know they are frustrated by it," Arniel said. "It still is something with all the new faces, we have to just continue to hammer away at it."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Predators fans throw catfish on ice to celebrate Stanley Cup berth

WATCH: Draymond Green tries just a little to hard to sell foul

Eddie George fires up Predators fans before Game 4 vs Ducks

Viktor Arvidsson had bloody ‘R’ on forehead after hit

Danny Ainge’s son running for congressional seat in Utah

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

John Wall’s retweet saves fan from taking final exam

WATCH: Cubs pull off two miraculous defensive plays in a row

To raise money for charity, a wrestling fan has Cody Rhodes slam him on thumbtacks

Gregg Popovich on Steve Kerr’s health issues: ‘It’s just a crap situation’

CJ McCollum clearly interested in having Paul Millsap join Blazers

Injuries are depriving us from watching the Spurs thrive in the clutch

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

Box Score 5/19: Heartbreak in OT

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker