BLUE JACKETS (1-1-1) at AVALANCHE (1-1-0)
TV: FS-O, ALT
Season series: This is the first of three meetings between the teams. They split a four-game season series in 2011-12.
Big story: Colorado received some rough news Wednesday, when it learned that gritty winger Steve Downie is out for the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during Tuesday’s 3-1 win against Los Angeles at the Pepsi Center.
Downie, 25, had 13 points in 20 games for the Avs last season after being acquired via trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s expected he’ll be replaced by Chuck Kobasew in the lineup this evening.
Blue Jackets: Columbus suffered its first regulation loss of the season Wednesday night, when it suffered a 5-1 defeat at Phoenix. Fedor Tyutin opened the scoring for the Blue Jackets, but the Coyotes responded with five unanswered goals, including a hat trick by veteran Steve Sullivan.
"We played a decent road game and then it unraveled and it unraveled quickly," said Columbus coach Todd Richards. "We've got to do more to create offense. The breakdowns we had are things we covered and things we have executed in our first two games."
Avalanche: Colorado swept the Los Angeles Kings in a four-game season series in 2011-12. That success has carried over into this season as the Avs erased a 1-0 deficit with three third-period goals in a 3-1 win against the defending Stanley Cup champs Tuesday night.
"I think it's huge for us," said Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov, who made 28 saves. "We know L.A. has such a good team offensively and defensively, and they have a great goalie. It was a big game for us."
Who’s hot: Tyutin is the Blue Jackets’ leading scorer with a goal and three assists through the club’s first three games. Sergei Bobrovsky, who was acquired from Philadelphia during the offseason, has a .934 save percentage in two appearances.
Injury report: With Downie out, the Avalanche recalled forward Brad Malone from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League. Malone had two assists in nine games for Colorado last season. Gabriel Landeskog, Jamie McGinn and PA Parenteau all sat out Wednesday’s practice (maintenance) but are all expected to play against the Blue Jackets.