Blue Jackets aim for first win vs. Avalanche

The Columbus Blue Jackets will try once again for their 12 campaign when they host the Colorado Avalanche for this evening's battle at Nationwide Arena.

The Blue Jackets had high hopes for this season after injecting some new blood over the summer. However, the changes have not helped in the win department as Columbus is 0-3-0 so far, marking the worst start in club history.

After missing the postseason for the ninth time in 10 seasons as an NHL franchise, Columbus general manager Scott Howson abandoned his philosophy of waiting for home-grown talent to develop and gave up picks and players to bring in the likes of forwards Jeff Carter and Vaclav Prospal and defensemen James Wisniewski and Radek Martinek.

Despite losing all three games in regulation, Columbus has only been outscored by a combined margin of 10-6. The Blue Jackets suffered their second one-goal loss on Monday, dropping a 3-2 decision against Vancouver in the home opener at Nationwide Arena. Columbus led that game by a 2-1 score heading into the third period before the Canucks scored two unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes.

Prospal and Cam Atkinson scored the two goals for the Blue Jackets, while Carter, who has three assists on the year, was held without a point for the first time this season.

Steve Mason's rough start to the season continued as he allowed three goals on 25 shots for Columbus. The 2008-09 Calder Trophy winner is 0-3-0 with a dreadful .873 save percentage and a goals-against average of 3.82.

Curtis Sanford is serving as Mason's backup while Mark Dekanich is sidelined for at least the first month of the season with an ankle injury. It's unclear if Mason will garner his fourth start of the year tonight or if Sanford will get the call.

Meanwhile, the Avalanche received a tremendous goaltending performance their last time out, as Semyon Varlamov recorded a shutout to bring Colorado's record to 1-1-0 on the season.

Varlamov stopped all 30 shots he faced and Milan Hejduk provided all the scoring with a third-period goal in Colorado's 1-0 road win over the Bruins at TD Garden.

Varlamov, acquired from Washington during the offseason, recorded a shutout -- the fifth of his career -- in his second game with the Avalanche.

"He was controlling the rebounds, he's just so calm back there," Avalanche center Paul Stastny said of Varlamov.

The 23-year-old Russian also stopped 36-of-38 shots in a loss to Detroit to open the season and Varlamov is expected to get a third consecutive start in net tonight.

Varlamov could use some additional help on the offensive end, however, as the Avalanche have managed just one goal over their first two games.

Tonight's tilt marks the second stop on a five-game road trip that will also see Colorado play in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. The Avs' next home test isn't until Oct. 20 against Chicago.

The Avs took three out of four from Columbus last year and have won seven of the last eight in this series. Colorado has dropped five of its last eight in Columbus.