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Game Day Central: Blue Jackets vs. Avalanche

Monday, 03.31.2014 / 9:00 PM / News
By BlueJackets.com Staff
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Game Day Central: Blue Jackets vs. Avalanche
The Blue Jackets are back at Nationwide Arena and they\'ll take on the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night with valuable playoff points at stake.

BLUE JACKETS VS. AVALANCHE
TUESDAY, 7 P.M.
NATIONWIDE ARENA
PHOTO GALLERY
BY THE NUMBERS

POST GAME LIVE

WATCH: 2nd period highlights. | CLICK TO WATCH

GAME AUDIO: Blake Comeau 2nd intermission interview. | LISTEN

WATCH:Blake Comeau makes it 2-0 Jackets! | CLICK TO WATCH


SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS:
A very Blue Jacket-like second period just came to a close, and the home team has rightfully earned a 2-0 lead after a solid middle frame. They pumped 12 shots at Varlamov in the second period but were all around the net, grinding down below the goal line and creating chances with their size and speed. Cam Atkinson was the recipient of a nice steal and pass behind the net from Brandon Dubinsky which opened the scoring, and later in the period, Nick Foligno took a bouncing puck out of a Colorado defenseman's skates and put it right on Blake Comeau's tape for a 2-0 Jackets lead. The forecheck has caused problems for Colorado but you'd like to see more of it in the final 20 minutes. 

GAME AUDIO:
Blake Comeau puts us ahead 2-0! | LISTEN

WATCH: Cam Atkinson's 2nd period goal. | CLICK TO WATCH

GAME AUDIO: CAMSANITY! Atkinson gives us the lead in the second. | LISTEN

WATCH: 1st period highlights. | CLICK TO WATCH

INTERMISSION AUDIO: Jared Boll interview 

FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: You can tell that it's been a while since these two teams have seen one another. Kind of a feeling-out process between the Jackets and Avalanche in the first 20 minutes, but one thing is clear - the home team came ready to play a physical game and they walked the walk in the opening period. One of the early highlights was a point-blank scoring chance for Jared Boll that came only a few seconds into his first shift. Varlamov made a strong save, but it was an active period for No. 40 in his first game back from ankle surgery. It took about 15 minutes for the Blue Jackets to establish their forechecking presence, but once they did, they found a recipe to get pucks through to Varlamov with chaos around the net. Against an elite goaltender like Varlamov, they need to do more of that in the next 40 minutes to generate and sustain offense. Shots are 8-5 in favor of the Avalanche.

WATCH:
Pre-game interviews. CLICK TO WATCH: PROUT | BOLL | RICHARDS

UPDATE (11:00 AM): Here are the projected lines and pairs for tonight's game against Colorado...

Calvert - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Jenner - Johansen - Letestu
Foligno - Anisimov - Tropp
Comeau - MacKenzie - Boll

Tyutin - Wisniewski
Johnson - Prout
Nikitin - Savard

Bobrovsky

MORNING SKATE:
The Blue Jackets are back on home ice, where they'll take on the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night at Nationiwde Arena. The team is slated for a 10 a.m. morning skate, and we'll have complete coverage for you here at Game Day Central. Also, look for lineup changes, thoughts on the match-up against the Avalanche, storylines from the other side and an interview with coach Todd Richards. Stay tuned to this page for the latest!

The Blue Jackets will again be making some lineup changes prior to facing the Avalanche for the second time this season on Tuesday night. Nathan Horton, dealing with a lower body injury, will not play and may miss more than just one game, Todd Richards said after practice on Monday.

Jared Boll, who has missed more than four months due to ankle surgery, returns to the lineup and is likely to start on a robust fourth line with Derek MacKenzie and Blake Comeau. 

Provided he's feeling 100 percent - and he did practice on Monday - look for Sergei Bobrovsky to start in goal against the Avalanche.




And so it begins.

The Blue Jackets' playoff drives kicks into high gear this week, as their closing stretch of eight games in 12 days starts with a home date against the Colorado Avalanche, a team that has had their number over the years.

Columbus has enjoyed more success against Colorado at home than on the road (Pepsi Center has been a bit of a house of horrors for the Jackets), and they are 6-4-1 in their last 11 home games against the Avalanche. But as we know all too well, this is the time of year when patterns and trends tend to take a backseat because it's all about the two points on the line.

Both teams are looking for points and in different situations: the Avalanche want to stay ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for second place in the incredibly-stacked Central Division, and the Blue Jackets want to keep raising the watermark for the Eastern Conference's wild card spots. 

Though they will be without Nathan Horton (lower body), the Blue Jackets feel confident rolling with any lineup they put on the ice. Todd Richards has the luxury of fresh legs in the form of healthy, extra forwards, and he's been rotating guys in and out of the lineup if he either wants a certain match-up or wants more from certain players. It's a coach's dream in terms of creating internal competition for ice time, but it's also a blessing when players get hurt.

Columbus is also hoping to get its No. 1 goaltender back between the pipes, although Curtis McElhinney did an admirable job filling in for Bobrovsky while he battled illness. McElhinney was strong on Friday night against Pittsburgh and very good early in Saturday's win in Raleigh, when Richards credited him with keeping the Jackets afloat when they started slugglishly against the Hurricanes. 




AT PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
THURSDAY, 7 P.M.
WELLS FARGO CENTER


          

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