Columbus (2-1-1) has five points in four games, and if it beats the Maple Leafs (3-2-2), will top the 2003-04 team that earned six points in its first five contests.
The return of Fedorov could bolster a Blue Jackets’ offense that is last in the Western Conference with 12 goals. The 36-year-old center—who has 443 goals and 1,063 points in his career—has been out since the preseason with a left shoulder injury, but could return either Friday night or at Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Fedorov had 12 goals and 31 assists in 62 games with the Blue Jackets last season after being acquired from Anaheim on Nov. 15.
Columbus hasn’t played since last Saturday, when it was beaten 5-0 in Minnesota. The Blue Jackets were 0-for-3 on the power play after going 8-for-25 in the first three games.
“We just came out flat, and we were flat the whole game,” forward Duvie Westcott said. “Guys didn’t have their legs.”
Friday’s contest will be forward David Vyborny’s 400th game with the Blue Jackets. He will be the only player in team history to reach that milestone, and is the franchise’s leading scorer with 233 points.
The Blue Jackets beat the Maple Leafs 4-3 in overtime on March 20, 2003, in the only game played between the teams in Columbus. Toronto has two wins and a tie in three home meetings in the series.
“They’ve had a strong start to the season,” Toronto center Alex Steen said of the Blue Jackets. “We have to have jump and kill their energy and get more shots.”
The Maple Leafs are leaving Canada for only the second time this season. Toronto lost 7-6 to New Jersey in a shootout on Oct. 12 and beat Ottawa 6-0 on Oct. 5 in its only other road game.
The Maple Leafs lost 4-1 to Colorado on Wednesday night, the first time in five games they didn’t have a game go past regulation.
“It was probably our worst game overall,” captain Mats Sundin said. “I thought we started pretty good but for some reason we didn’t have the pace or intensity as we did in the previous six games.”
Toronto, which has alternated wins and losses in every game this season, was 0-for-5 on the power play against the Avalanche and is now 5-for-36 this season.
“We didn’t skate that well, we didn’t have confidence with the puck and because of that we didn’t shoot the puck,” Toronto coach Paul Maurice said. “And that builds frustration into your game.”
The Maple Leafs return home on Saturday to face the New York Rangers.