ColoradoAvalanche.com web staff contributed to this story.
AVALANCHE (47-21-6) at BLUE JACKETS (38-30-6)
TV: Altitude, Fox Sports Ohio
Last 10: Colorado 6-3-1; Columbus 5-4-1
Season series: This is the second and final game between these cross-conference teams. The Avalanche defeated Columbus 5-3 on Dec. 31, getting goals from Jan Hejda, Jamie McGinn, Ryan O'Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon.
Big story: The Avalanche's leading scorer, Matt Duchene, will miss about four weeks with a knee injury suffered in a 3-2 win against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday. Colorado secured a Stanley Cup Playoff berth with the victory (it's first postseason berth since 2010) so Duchene is expected to miss at least the first week of the postseason, which begins Apr. 16. He had two assists the last time these teams played and 47 overall this season.
Avalanche: Missing an offensive leader like Duchene creates a challenge for first-year coach Patrick Roy, but he is focused on filling the hole at center. He said Monday after practice that MacKinnon, a natural center, would slide into Duchene's spot and be flanked by O'Reilly and McGinn. Paul Stastny will center a line of Gabriel Landeskog and John Mitchell, who will shift to the right wing.
"We've been finding ways to win since the start of the year," Roy said. "We've played games without [Stastny] and [Landeskog]. I want everyone to know that I'm proud of them for what they've accomplished. We're not satisfied. We want home-ice advantage."
Blue Jackets: Columbus closes out the regular season with a stretch of eight games in 12 days while dealing with injuries to a few key players. Coach Todd Richards said Monday that goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (flu-like symptoms) is a game-time decision, while forward Nathan Horton (lower-body injury) will not play Tuesday.
"There is a lower-body issue that [Horton] is dealing with, and now we have to start making decisions on how we're going to handle it," Richards said. "He's out [Tuesday] and possibly beyond."
Right wing Jared Boll will replace Horton in the lineup, making his first appearance for the Blue Jackets since Nov. 22. Columbus lost four of its past five home games (1-3-1), but remains in the final spot for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
Who's hot: Landeskog has points in four of his last five games for the Avalanche, totaling four goals and two assists. Goalie Semyon Varlamov (the Avs' expected starter) is coming off a season-high 47 saves against San Jose, giving him 37 wins on the season, just three short of Roy's franchise record … Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski is in the midst of a three-game assist streak with five assists over that span.
Injury report: In addition to Duchene, Avalanche right wing PA Parenteau (knee) is out but did skate before practice Monday. Roy said he is hopeful Parenteau could return for Colorado's April 13 regular-season finale at Anaheim … Besides Horton (lower body) and Bobrovsky (flu-like symptoms), Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray (knee surgery) is out.
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