The Colorado Avalanche have a chance to start a new road winning streak in the same place where they began their last one.
The Avalanche will try to conclude a three-game trip with a winning record Saturday night when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets, who continue to struggle to score.
Colorado (23-13-6) had its four-game road win streak snapped Thursday with a 4-2 loss to Detroit. The Avalanche, who won 4-3 at Ottawa the night before, rallied from a two-goal deficit before allowing the Red Wings’ Ville Leino(notes) to score the go-ahead goal with 3:52 left.
“Down two goals, we did a pretty good job to battle and come back,” coach Joe Sacco said. “Just too bad we couldn’t get a point out of it.”
Rookie right wing Brandon Yip(notes) was a bright spot with both goals, with linemates Darcy Tucker(notes) and rookie Matt Duchene(notes) each posting two assists. Yip, an eighth-round draft pick in 2004, has shown promise with three goals and one assist in his first six NHL games.
The Avalanche started their road win streak by beating Columbus 3-2 on Dec. 5 as Peter Budaj(notes) made 29 saves. Craig Anderson(notes) has started the first two games of this trip, posting a 3.03 goals-against average.
Colorado is 2-0-0 against Columbus (15-18-9) after losing all four matchups in 2008-09. The Avalanche have 52 points to lead the Northwest Division after amassing a Western Conference-worst 69 last season.
The Blue Jackets seem unlikely to return to the playoffs with 39 points - tied with Anaheim for the second-fewest in the West. They have matched a franchise record by going nine straight games with two or fewer goals.
“You have to get scoring from your top six forwards,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “It’s not going to change until that happens.”
Columbus completed a 2-9-5 December with Thursday’s 2-1 overtime loss to Nashville, marking the fifth straight game the Blue Jackets have scored one goal.
“We’re desperate for wins, especially when we have packed houses,” captain Rick Nash(notes) said. “We want to show our fans we’re a good team. It was a solid game, just some defensive errors came to bite us.”
“Mathieu gave us a real opportunity to win the game,” Hitchcock said. “I feel for him. He played a great hockey game.”
These teams also met in their first game in 2009 exactly one year ago, with Nash finishing with a goal and three assists in a 6-1 road victory.