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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, January 24th (All times Eastern)

Columbus Blue Jackets (1-1-1) at Colorado Avalanche (1-1-0), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Colorado Avalanche will have their forward depth put to the test on Thursday night as they try to make it two victories in a row in a meeting with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Avalanche dropped a two-goal decision at Minnesota to begin the season before picking up a 3-1 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. The Kings struck first in the game, but the Avs exploded for three goals in the final frame.

David Jones scored on the power play 95 seconds after new Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog had tied the game with a goal. Free agent addition P.A. Parenteau added his first goal with the Avalanche to cap the scoring.

Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves and Colorado killed off all six Los Angeles power plays. The Avs had yielded two power-play goals in the loss to the Wild.

"We created some momentum (in the third) and we had some good penalty kills all night long," Landeskog said.

Still without unsigned restricted free agent Ryan O'Reilly, an 18-goal scorer last year, the Avalanche lost forward Steve Downie to a season-ending knee injury suffered against the Kings. Downie had an assist in two games this season and notched 41 points in 75 games in 2011-12 with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Avalanche.

Veteran Chuck Kobasew is expected to replace Downie in the lineup.

The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, opened their campaign with a shootout win at Nashville before dropping a shootout decision to the Detroit Red Wings on Monday. Columbus then failed to record a point in a third straight game as it was routed 5-1 on Wednesday night by the Phoenix Coyotes.

In his first appearance of the season, former Calder Trophy winner Steve Mason yielded all five goals on 42 shots in defeat. Sergei Bobrovsky, who started both shootout games, is expected to get the call in net versus the Avalanche.

"We were terrible. It didn't matter who was in (net). It could have been Patrick Roy," Columbus forward R.J. Umberger admitted. "We just didn't battle in front of (Mason)."

Fedor Tyutin scored the lone goal for the Blue Jackets, who were outshot 42-26.

The Blue Jackets and Avalanche split four meetings last season and each club picked up their two wins on the road. Colorado, though, has still won nine of the past 12 encounters overall.

01/24 10:50:41 ET