Blue Jackets host Grubauer, Avalanche
The Avalanche (2-0-0) could be without captain Gabe Landeskog, the Denver Post reported. He was not at Monday’s practice before the team left for Columbus.
The Blue Jackets (1-1-0) announced the same day that center Brandon Dubinsky will miss four to six weeks after suffering a strained oblique on Sunday during practice. Columbus already is dealing with the absence of all-star defenseman Seth Jones for the same length of time after he sustained a knee injury during the preseason.
The Post reported that Landeskog was seen going into the x-ray room after the Avalanche’s 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night. The left winger has one goal and one assist in Colorado’s first two games.
“He’s dealing with a little bit of a lower-body thing, so we gave him a maintenance day,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said, according to the Post. “Hopefully, he’s good to go.”
Just in case Landeskog is unavailable, the Avalanche recalled forward Vladislav Kamenev from the Colorado Eagles.
During Monday’s practice, Bednar moved former Blue Jacket Matt Calvert up to Landeskog’s line to join Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon.
“We want to see him be energized and help drive our group,” Bednar said.
Calvert returns to Columbus to play against the Blue Jackets for the first time since he left this past summer as a free agent.
Philipp Grubauer will make his first start in goal for the Avalanche.
“The guys played unbelievable the last two games (in wins over Minnesota and Philadelphia), and we’ll try to carry that over,” Grubauer said.
Grubauer was the starting goaltender for the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals when they lost the first two games of a first-round playoff series with Columbus in April.
“It’s a team that he’s familiar with,” Bednar said. “He played them over the last couple seasons out east and faced them in the playoffs a little bit. So, I think he’ll be excited to go.”
The Avalanche also hope that defenseman Patrik Nemeth (upper body) will be able to return during their two-game road trip. He sat out Saturday’s game but practiced Monday and could be cleared for contact on Tuesday.
The Blue Jackets opened the season with an overtime road win in Detroit on Thursday before losing their home opener to the Carolina Hurricanes the following night.
Now they have to shuffle their lines without Dubinsky, who had a goal and an assist in the first two games while winning 68.8 percent of his faceoffs.
“Dubi’s done a lot of work this summer, not only physically but mentally, and he’s dead-on his game,” coach John Tortorella said, according to The Columbus Dispatch. “Now in practice he hurts himself. The guys you pull for are those types of guys. Easy to pull for. You want to see them follow through.”
“We just have to figure out how we’re going to play, with or without him,” Tortorella said. “I don’t want to paint a bleak picture; I just want us to get off on the right start in building our identity as a team.”
The Blue Jackets filled a roster spot when they activated defenseman Scott Harrington off injured reserve on Monday. Harrington missed the first two games with an upper body injured suffered in the preseason.
Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski appears to have avoided a serious lower body injury after a hard fall during the loss to the Hurricanes.
“I wasn’t happy with how I played Friday night,” Werenski said. “I didn’t do anything. I wasn’t really as strong defensively. So, I think having that injury and playing the way I did, it’s kind of good to get it out of the way early this season and hopefully not have too many more of those.”