Blue Jackets-Avalanche Preview

The Colorado Avalanche opened a seven-game homestand in defeat,

but may have suffered a bigger loss in the course of that

contest.

The Avalanche begin an extended stretch without the injured P.A.

Parenteau on Tuesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Colorado (23-11-4) fell to 0-1-3 in its last four with Sunday’s

2-1 overtime loss to Winnipeg. Parenteau went down with a left knee

injury in the second period and is expected to miss six weeks with

an MCL sprain.

The winger is tied for fourth on the team with 24 points after

he tied for the Colorado lead with 43 a season ago. Brad Malone

will be called up from the minors for his second stint with the

club, and rookie Nathan MacKinnon will replace Parenteau on the

line with Paul Stastny and left wing Gabriel Landeskog.

“It’s part of the season, you’re losing guys and it gives others

opportunities to show what they have,” coach Patrick Roy said. “And

it’s a great chance for Malone now.”

Roy was asked about the fact that the Jets got physical with

Semyon Varlamov, who will start Tuesday and has a 2.18 goal-against

average in his last nine appearances. The coach and former star

goalie said it was a result of Varlamov’s strong work in the

crease.

“This is the next step,” Roy said “He’s playing so well, teams

are gonna try to get in his face a little bit more. I love it, I

love it.”

Varlamov is 3-2-1 with two shutouts and a 1.66 GAA in his career

against the Blue Jackets.

Columbus (17-18-4) is 4-1-0 in its last five matchups with

Colorado. The Blue Jackets are seeking their first three-game road

win streak in the opener of this four-game trip.

The club is without reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei

Bobrovsky, out since Dec. 3 with a groin injury. Bobrovsky could

return on this trip while Curtis McElhinney and Mike McKenna have

combined for a 2.91 GAA in the 11 games he has missed.

“Our team game has been better and our structure has been better

and that’s protected our goalies, but our goalies have still made

some big saves at key times when you need them to,” coach Todd

Richards told the Blue Jackets’ official website. “You look at the

Carolina game (Dec. 23) in the last seconds and McKenna makes a

great save on a pass across … it’s making those timely saves and

our team play has done a better job as far as insulating our

goaltenders.

“They both have done a great job for us.”

Richards did not say who would start Tuesday, although

McElhinney is expected to get the nod. His club’s three-game win

streak was snapped with Sunday’s 5-3 home loss to Pittsburgh.

Ryan Johansen was held pointless for a second straight game

after he recorded 14 points in his previous 12 contests. McElhinney

made 25 saves in suffering his second loss in his last six

starts.

The Blue Jackets remain without injured forwards Marian Gaborik

and Nathan Horton, although Horton is nearing his club debut after

shoulder surgery.

Columbus will have to be wary of Matt Duchene, who has 13 points

in his last eight games although he has gone pointless in his last

two like Johansen.