The Columbus Blue Jackets have lost only twice in their last 10 home games and have a chance to avenge one of those defeats when they visit the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. The surging Blue Jackets are 6-1-2 overall in their last nine games, including a 3-2 overtime defeat against visiting Colorado on Nov. 21.
John Tortorella was hired after Columbus lost its first seven games last year and has his team battling for second place in the Metropolitan Division with the likes of defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh and reigning Presidents’ Trophy winner Washington. “We certainly know we’ve climbed a ladder here,” Tortorella said. “You’re certainly not going to win them all. ... But I like where the attitude has gone to here.” Colorado is in the midst of an ugly five-game homestand, losing its first three (0-2-1) while getting outscored 14-8. The Avalanche are sitting in last place in the Central Division and have scored 47 goals -- the fewest total in the Western Conference.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Columbus), Altitude (Colorado)
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (12-5-4): Columbus’ No. 3 line of William Karlsson, Josh Anderson and Scott Hartnell combined for seven points in a 5-1 drubbing of Tampa Bay on Tuesday. The 22-year-old Anderson notched his second three-point game of the season and Tortorella wants more consistency from the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder. ”Does it get good to him because he had a good night? Or, does he come back and do it the next game with even more concentration?“ Tortorella asked. ”I have a question mark with Josh on that.”
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (9-11-1): Colorado entered its homestand coming off an a pair of impressive road victories at Minnesota and Columbus and hoped to use the stretch to climb back in the division race. ”Our team, I know, feels like we’ve squandered a bit of an opportunity here with three home games and we only have one point to show for it so far,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said in the wake of a 5-3 loss to Nashville. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov will get the start Thursday after sitting out the past two.
1. The Avalanche are 1-for-18 on the power play over the past eight games.
2. Blue Jackets G Sergei Bobrovsky is 4-1-1 with a 2.48 goals-against average versus Colorado, but he sat out last month’s meeting.
3. Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, who has missed six straight games, was placed in injured reserve.
PREDICTION: Avalanche 3, Blue Jackets 2