Colorado (25-23-6) at Columbus (26-23-5)

By MATT BEARDMORE, STATS Writer Friday, Feb 11, 2011 Puck Drop: 7:00 pm EST Fri Feb 11, 2011

The Colorado Avalanche’s offense has been ineffective lately. That hasn’t been the case when they’ve faced the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The likely return of Peter Forsberg(notes) could provide a boost Friday night at Nationwide Arena, where Colorado looks to halt its worst losing streak in nearly two years by winning its seventh in a row over the Blue Jackets.

Forsberg was signed Sunday and had not played due to unresolved visa issues, but the team confirmed Friday the paperwork had been cleared up and he was expected to take the ice against Columbus. The former MVP hasn’t played in the NHL since 2007-08.

The 37-year-old Forsberg, who helped Colorado win two Stanley Cups, is expected to play on a line with center Matt Duchene(notes) and right wing Milan Hejduk(notes).

Despite ranking among the league’s best with 3.0 goals per game, the Avalanche (25-23-6) have scored just seven during a five-game skid that has dropped them into a 13th-place tie with St. Louis in the Western Conference.

Colorado, mired in its longest skid since an 0-7-1 stretch from March 15-April 1, 2009, had gone 135:22 without a goal until David Jones(notes) scored in the first period of Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Minnesota.

“Things aren’t going too good right now,” said Jones, who scored both goals. “But that being said, I think we did better tonight than we did in the past few games. I guess that’s the only positive we can take from this.”

Colorado has had plenty of positives against the Blue Jackets (26-23-5), outscoring them 26-9 while winning all six matchups since the beginning of 2009-10.

Jones has three goals and an assist in this season’s two meetings to help the Avalanche win both by 5-1 scores, in Denver on Oct. 30 and at Nationwide Arena on Nov. 12.

“There’s something here mental against this team,” Columbus coach Scott Arniel said after the teams’ last meeting. “You could see it out there again and we saw it in Colorado.”

The Blue Jackets will try to get back on track after their three-game winning streak was snapped Wednesday, wasting a two-goal lead after one period in a 3-2 home loss to San Jose.

“It was a tough one,” captain Rick Nash(notes) said. “We had a great first and then sat back after that and lost on a tough goal. We had a lot of energy in the first. In the second period they seemed to take it to us and take over the game.”

Columbus suffered its third loss in four home games but showed some positive signs, scoring twice on the power play for just the second time in 69 games. Kristian Huselius(notes) and Grant Clitsome(notes) had those goals for the Blue Jackets, who were 0 for 13 on the power play in their previous four games.

Colorado is 0 for 17 on the power play during its skid.

Coach Joe Sacco, though, also needs a better performance from Craig Anderson(notes), whom he criticized after the netminder lost his sixth consecutive start Wednesday.

“We can’t start pointing fingers,” said Anderson, who has a 4.29 goals-against average during his skid. “It’s everybody collectively. Look at yourself in the mirror and see what you can do better. Everyone’s got to bring a little bit more.”

Peter Budaj(notes) turned away 61 of 63 shots while starting both games against Columbus this season.

Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason(notes) yielded nine goals in those games and is 0-5-0 with a 5.08 GAA in his last five starts versus Colorado.

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Friday, Feb 11