Columbus (14-14-7) at Colorado (19-11-6)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 9:00 pm EST Sat Dec 19, 2009
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Paul Stastny(notes) hopes a couple of days off have allowed the Colorado Avalanche to move past one of their worst losses of the season. The return of fellow alternate captain Milan Hejduk(notes) would help, too.

With Hejduk expected to play, the Avalanche look to deal the Columbus Blue Jackets their sixth straight loss Saturday night.

Two days after beating Northwest Division-leading Calgary, Colorado (19-11-6) suffered a letdown Tuesday night, losing 6-1 to Washington. The Avalanche had allowed a total of six goals over their previous five games, winning four.

“Everybody’s mad about it, but when you get to practice … you have a whole new mindset and feel refreshed,” Stastny told the Avalanche’s official Web site.

Colorado hopes the ensuing three-day break can help end its scoring problems. The Avalanche have been held to two goals or fewer in three of their last four games, going 2 for 20 on the power play.

Hejduk’s presence on the ice would help. The veteran right wing, who has a team-high six power-play goals and 12 overall, returned to practice Thursday and said he should be healthy enough to face the Blue Jackets (14-14-7) after missing two games with a knee injury.

Hejduk had a goal in Colorado’s 3-2 victory over Columbus on Dec. 5. The Avalanche had lost four straight and six of seven versus the Blue Jackets, who don’t appear to be in any shape to regain their dominance in the series.

Columbus, 0-3-2 since a 3-0 win over Florida on Dec. 9, is in danger of losing six in a row for the first time since an eight-game skid from Nov. 10-24, 2006.

The Blue Jackets also have lost seven straight (0-4-3) away from Nationwide Arena. They haven’t had an eight-game road losing streak since dropping nine in a row from Oct. 12-Nov. 20, 2005.

Columbus has lost 13 of 15 overall, getting defeated five times in shootouts and losing by one goal in three other contests.

“Shootouts are emotional losses for young teams and it unnerves you,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “Younger teams carry (close losses) with them. We need to win a shootout, an overtime game or a game late. We haven’t been rewarded through this stretch, for a lot of good play.”

Columbus lost 2-1 in a shootout with Phoenix on Thursday night. Mathieu Garon(notes), who had 26 saves, lost his second straight tiebreaker after setting an NHL record with 13 consecutive shootout wins.

Steve Mason(notes) will likely get his 28th start for the Blue Jackets even though he’s lost three straight and six of seven. He’s 2-1-0 with a 2.36 goals-against average in three games against Colorado, but is 4-5-2 with a 3.82 GAA in 12 road games this season.

The Avalanche could give Craig Anderson(notes) a break after his poor effort against the Capitals. He allowed five goals on 21 shots before being replaced by Peter Budaj(notes).

Anderson had given up two goals or fewer in four of his previous five contests.

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Saturday, Dec 19