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Preview: Bout with the Blue Jackets

Nov 6, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) looks to pass as Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski (8) defends during the third period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche return home to Ball Arena tonight to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets and kick off a five-game homestand. This is the first of two regular-season matchups between these two clubs, with the second one set to take place on April 1.

Colorado Avalanche (44-20-5)

Colorado comes back home tonight after being on a four-game road trip recently, which they went perfectly on. Their most recent victory came against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, March 19. Mikko Rantanen netted his seventh career hat-trick in that game to propel the Avs to their seventh straight win. As we get closer and closer to the end of the regular season, the battle for the top spot of the Central Division remains incredibly tense. All three teams at the top are currently tied at 93 points. It really looks like it’s going to be a photo finish of sorts to see who ends up winning the division.

After another solid outing from Justus Annunen on Tuesday night against the Blues, it should be Alexandar Georgiev going back in net tonight. His last game was against the Edmonton Oilers, where he looked confident and kept Colorado in that game, even stopping a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins breakaway in the overtime period to give the Avs the chance to win the game. Hopefully, tonight’s performance looks similar to his last one and he can build on it.

Projected lines

Valeri Nichushkin (13) – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen (96)
Artturi Lehkonen (62) – Casey Mittelstadt (37) – Jonathan Drouin (27)
Brandon Duhaime (12) – Ross Colton (20) – Zach Parise (9)
Miles Wood (28) – Yakov Trenin (73) – Andrew Cogliano (11)

Devon Toews (7) – Cale Makar (8)
Samuel Girard (49) – Josh Manson (42)
Jack Johnson (3) – Sean Walker (26)

Alexandar Georgiev (40)

Columbus Blue Jackets (23-34-12)

Columbus comes into this game off of a frustrating 4-3 overtime loss against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, March 19. A bigger piece of news coming from that game was defenseman Zach Werenski getting injured from blocking a shot. It’s still unknown if Werenski will be ok to go tonight, but in the case that he isn’t ok to go, the Blue Jackets did recall David Jiricek.

Projected lines

Johnny Gaudreau (13) – Boone Jenner (38) – Alex Nylander (38)
Alexandre Texier (42) – Cole Sillinger (4) – Kirill Marchenko (86)
Mikael Pyyhtia (82) – Dmitri Voronkov (10) – Trey Fix-Wolansky (64)
Mathieu Olivier (24) – Brendan Gaunce (16) – Carson Meyer (72)

Damon Severson (78) – Zach Werenski (8)
Jake Bean (22) – Ivan Proverov (9)
Jake Christiansen (23) – Erik Gubranson (44)

Elvis Merzlikins (90)/Daniil Tarasov (40)

Broadcast details

Time: 7:00 p.m. MST

Watch: Altitude TV, Bally Sports Ohio, ESPN + (Out of market only)

Listen: Altitude Sports Radio, 92.5 FM

Opponent’s beat: The Cannon

Talking Points