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Preview: No fooling around in Columbus

Nov 6, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins (90) makes a save against Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) during the third period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche go on their last multi-game road trip of the season to kick off the month of April. It starts tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the 32nd different arena they’ve played in this season.

The Avs hosted Columbus a couple of weeks ago at Ball Arena, where the home team dominated in a 6-1 win. Hence, the Avs will be looking for a season sweep for the second season in a row. This is also the first visit to the Nationwide Arena since 2021, as these two played the 2022-23 season overseas in Tampere, Finland.

Colorado Avalanche (47-21-6)

The Avs are coming off the back of a ridiculous 7-4 win. They were down 4-2, flustered and frustrated with the Nashville Predators. But, the team roared back outscoring the Preds 5-0 in the final 30 minutes to pull out the win.

It stopped a two-game skid and was a necessity to keep in touch with the Dallas Stars at the top of the Central Division. But, they did run into some injury concerns with Cale Makar, Ross Colton, and Sean Walker all going off injured at some point during the game.

Luckily, all three are expected to be good and ready to go in Columbus. With Justus Annunen getting the start once again, can he use his momentum after coming into the game in relief and pull out a second straight win for Colorado?

Projected Lines

Jonathan Drouin (27) – Nathan MacKinnon (29) – Mikko Rantanen (96)
Brandon Duhaime (12) – Casey Mittelstadt (37) – Artturi Lehkonen (62)
Miles Wood (28) – Ross Colton (20) – Zach Parise (9)
Andrew Cogliano (11) – Yakov Trenin (73) – Jean-Luc Foudy (93)

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

Justus Annunen (60)

Columbus Blue Jackets (24-38-12)

The Jackets are coming off a close 4-3 shootout win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second half of a home-and-home series. It was a crucial win as well, as it stopped a six-game losing streak – including their loss against the Avs on March 22.

Columbus is just hoping the end of the season comes sooner rather than later. They are far out of the playoff race and simply have not been up to competitive levels to try and compete with their young roster for a playoff spot.

There have also been plenty of scenes out of the lineup. Johnny Gaudreau has led the way with 55 points in 74 games, far from what his stats were at with the Calgary Flames, and has been one of the only constants in the lineup all season for Columbus. But, can they manage to pull off an upset to win their second straight game?

Projected Lines

Johnny Gaudreau (13) – Dmitri Voronkov (10) – Alex Nylander (92)
Alexandre Texier (42) – Cole Sillinger (4) – Kirill Marchenko (86)
Mikael Pyyhtia (82) – Brandon Gaunce (16) – Mathieu Oliver (24)
James Malatesta (67) – Justin Danforth (17) – Carson Meyer (72)

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

Daniil Tarasov (40)

Broadcast Details

Time: 5:00 p.m. MT

Watch: Altitude, BSOH, ESPN+ (Out of Market Only)

Listen: Altitude Sports Radio FM 92.5

Opponent’s Beat: Jackets Cannon

Talking Points