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33-42-7

22 SOG
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Avalanche-Blue Jackets Preview

Wednesday, 11.01.2006 / 5:00 PM

Associated Press

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Avalanche-Blue Jackets Preview
Colorado Avalanche vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

The Colorado Avalanche are looking to win back-to-back games for just the second time this season and the Columbus Blue Jackets may be able to help them out.

The Avalanche have never lost in regulation to the Blue Jackets and will look for their 19th win all-time when they visit Nationwide Arena on Wednesday.

Colorado (5-4-2) will face a team it's outscored 81-26 since the Blue Jackets entered the NHL in the 2000-01 season. The Blue Jackets' only win against the Avalanche came at home, 5-4 in overtime on Feb. 28, 2004 and they played to a 2-2 tie on Jan. 28, 2003 in Columbus.

Colorado might not need its past domination of the Blue Jackets as incentive after beating Northwest Division leader Minnesota 4-1 on Sunday at home.

Goaltender Jose Theodore was sharp making 20 saves in his first start since sitting the previous two games against Los Angeles and Washington. That came after allowing a career-high eight goals against Montreal - his former team - in an 8-5 loss on Oct. 21.

"I felt good about my game," Theodore said after beating the Wild. "I felt good because I was there to make saves. We know Minnesota is one of the best teams in the league, and the way we played the way tonight just showed everybody and ourselves that we can beat anybody."

Colorado also displayed a strong defensive effort. The 21 shots taken by Minnesota were the fewest allowed by the Avalanche this season. Colorado has allowed only one goal in each of its last four wins.

Milan Hejduk, who has six goals and 21 points in his career versus Columbus, had his second two-goal game of the week and Ian Laperriere scored his 100th NHL goal against the Wild.

"We had to play a complete game, and we did that in all areas and had a good contribution from all 20 guys tonight," Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said.

The Avs last had consecutive wins when they defeated Toronto and Ottawa on the road on Oct. 18-19.

Columbus (3-5-1) has lost five of its last six games, including a 1-0 defeat at New Jersey on Saturday. It was the second time in three games the Blue Jackets were shut out.

The Blue Jackets didn't have many quality chances against Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, but did get another solid effort in goal from Pascal Leclaire one night after he posted his first career shutout in a 2-0 home win over Los Angeles.

Leclaire, who made 38 saves against the Kings, allowed a Zach Parise goal late in the second period that caromed into the net off a Blue Jackets' stick for the only score in the loss to New Jersey.

"We played well," said Leclaire, who was 0-2-1 with a 2.81 goals-against average against Colorado last season. "It was a funny bounce. The game could have gone either way."

Columbus' offense has struggled thanks in part to its power play which is 0-for-16 in the last three games and 2-for-37 in its last six contests.

Right wing Nikolai Zherdev, the team's leading goal scorer with four, scored Columbus' last power play goal late in the third period of a 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh on Oct. 21.

Columbus has lost the last five games in the series and have were outscored 17-5 by the Avalanche in that span.

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 27 '07CBJ 2 at COL 3M. Rycroft
Dec 05 '06CBJ 3 at COL 0J. Chimera
Nov 17 '06COL 3 at CBJ 0P. Stastny
Nov 01 '06COL 5 at CBJ 3M. Rycroft
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
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