Blue Jackets snap 5-game skid with 6-3 win over Avalanche

DENVER (AP) — Pierre-Luc Dubois scored twice for Columbus, including an empty-netter. Oliver Bjorkstrand, Cam Atkinson and Alexander Wennberg also had goals.

The Blue Jackets arrived in town early to acclimate to the altitude. The strategy worked as they looked just as fresh in the third period as they did in the first.

Anderson batted in a loose puck under the pads of Philipp Grubauer for the winner. The Avalanche challenged for offside, but the goal was ruled good following a replay review and Colorado was assessed a delay-of-game penalty. That led to a clinching power-play goal from Wennberg.

Nikita Zadorov, Samuel Girard and defensemen Erik Johnson scored for Colorado, which dropped its fourth straight and fell to 3-12-2 since Dec. 21.

Grubauer made 31 saves in a start over Semyon Varlamov as the Avalanche search for consistency in net.

Dubois wrapped up the win on an empty-netter with 1:28 remaining.

Girard scored his first goal since Nov. 28 at 14:06 of the second period, and moments later it appeared Tyson Barrie just might increase the lead. But Bobrovsky made a save, with the deflection winding up on the stick of Artemi Panarin, who quickly launched it up the ice to a wide-open Atkinson. The Blue Jackets forward faked out Grubauer to tie it at 3 with 18.9 seconds left in the second.

That’s the way things went early — one counter after another.

Columbus scored 53 seconds into the game on a wraparound goal from Bjorkstrand. Johnson answered with a shot from the blue line before the Blue Jackets answered right back courtesy of Dubois’ 20th goal of the season.

With 1:23 remaining in the first, Zadorov knotted it again with a shot from the blue line.

Before the game, general manager Joe Sakic said he hasn’t lost any confidence in his squad despite the recent slide.

“We believe in this group,” Sakic said. “I know the group believes in themselves.”

NOTES: Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky and D Ryan Murray were out with lower-body injuries. … Sakic adamantly maintained he won’t part with either of his two first-round picks in any sort of trade-deadline deal. “If there’s a player that can help us, that isn’t going to include one of those (picks) or our top prospects, then we’ll look at that,” Sakic said. … Sakic will address a potential long-term deal with forward Mikko Rantanen over the summer. … Colorado went 1-4 on the homestand.

UP NEXT

Blue Jackets: At the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.

Avalanche: Start a three-game trip Thursday in Washington.