Avs try to stay hot against visiting Blue Jackets

Published March 01, 2012

| Sports Network

The surging Colorado Avalanche will try to match their longest winning streak of the season when they welcome the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets for tonight's clash at the Pepsi Center.

Colorado has posted victories in each of its last four contests and will aim for its third five-game win streak of the year tonight. The Avalanche last won five in a row from Dec. 17-26.

The Avalanche will likely need every point it can muster down the stretch to make the playoffs. Colorado is currently tied with Los Angeles for ninth in the West, one point behind Dallas for the conference's final postseason berth.

Colorado's latest victory was Monday's 4-1 triumph over Anaheim. Semyon Varlamov posted 27 saves for the Avalanche, who have outscored the opposition by a combined 17-5 margin during the current win streak.

Matt Duchene, Jay McClement, Ryan O'Reilly and Cody McLeod all scored for the Avalanche.

"It took a while for us to get some chemistry," said O'Reilly linemate Steve Downie, who had two assists. "I feel there's still more for us to do. They played a tight game tonight, but in the third period we came out strong and we were able to get the two points."

Colorado, which is playing the middle test of a three-game homestand, is 18-13-1 as the host this year and has won its last three tests in the Mile High City.

The Avs expect Jamie McGinn to make his debut for the team tonight. McGinn was acquired along with a pair of prospects in a trade with San Jose before Monday's deadline. Colorado sent forwards T.J. Galiardi and Daniel Winnik and a seventh-round pick in 2013 to the Sharks.

McGinn, a second-round pick of the Sharks in 2006, has already posted career- best totals this season in goals (12), assists (12) and games (61).

The Blue Jackets, who are last in the NHL with a paltry 43 points, decided to hold onto superstar forward Rick Nash at the deadline, and although Nash scored a goal on Tuesday, Columbus still dropped a 5-2 decision to the visiting Red Wings. The Blue Jackets scored early in the third period to take a 2-1 lead before Detroit closed the game with four unanswered goals.

Nash and Derek MacKenzie scored for the Blue Jackets, while Curtis Sanford was tagged for all five goals on 25 shots in defeat.

"It was a disappointing finish to what I thought was a pretty hard-played game," Blue Jackets interim head coach Todd Richards said.

Columbus is kicking off a two-game swing tonight and has a dreadful 7-20-4 road record this season.

The Avalanche are 2-0 against the Blue Jackets this year after posting two victories in Columbus. Colorado has won nine of 10 overall in this series and Columbus has dropped four in a row in Denver.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2012/03/01/avs-try-to-stay-hot-against-visiting-blue-jackets/