NHL Game Summary - Colorado at Columbus
(Friday, February 11th)
Final Score: Columbus 3, Colorado 1
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Even the season debut of a former league MVP couldn't snap Colorado's skid as it reached six games following Friday's 3-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.
The game marked the return of forward Peter Forsberg, who announced his intentions of attempting a comeback last month. The 2003 Hart Trophy winner has been hindered by foot problems, but after skating with the Avalanche for a couple weeks, the 37-year-old Swede deemed himself healthy and signed a contract with the club last Sunday for the remainder of the season. However, he needed to settle visa issues before he could play.
Forsberg, who last appeared in an NHL game with Colorado on April 29, 2008, notched one shot in over 17 minutes while skating on a line with Matt Duchene and Milan Hejduk.
"Actually [Forsberg] played better than I expected him to. He was arguably our best player tonight," said Colorado head coach Joe Sacco. "He kept his shifts short. He had good energy for the most part. He was playing well. I think it's a real big step for Peter, certainly in the right direction. It doesn't hide the fact that we still lost the game. I thought he was real good tonight."
Peter Budaj stopped 29 shots for the Avalanche, who have lost eight of nine overall to tumble to 14th in the Western Conference.
Rick Nash and Derick Brassard scored second-period goals for Columbus, which rebounded after its three-game winning streak was snapped Wednesday. The Blue Jackets blew a two-goal lead after 20 minutes in a 3-2 home loss to San Jose.
Mathieu Garon made 31 saves to collect his first win since December 21.
Philippe Dupuis picked off R.J. Umberger's pass in the neutral zone and beat Garon on a breakaway to give Colorado a 1-0 lead with 4:06 remaining in the first period.
Nash tied the game at the 7:19 mark of the middle stanza. Jakub Voracek pushed the puck down the right wing and faked a slap shot before sending a cross-ice pass to Nash, who converted the feed from the bottom of the left circle for his team-leading 25th goal of the season.
Brassard put Columbus ahead 2-1 with 5:58 remaining in the period. The tenacious forecheck by Nash forced a turnover behind the Avalanche net. The Blue Jackets captain managed to flick the puck into the slot while fending off John-Michael Liles. The Colorado defenseman crashed into Budaj, allowing Brassard to deposit the puck into an open cage.
"We did get off to a slow start and my comments to the team (at the first intermission) were that our forwards had to get going," said Columbus head coach Scott Arniel. "I thought the second period our forwards started to get going, we got after their defense, started to create some turnovers and obviously got some big goals."
Derek MacKenzie's empty-net tally in the waning moments of regulation sealed the win.
Colorado goalie Craig Anderson returned to Denver on Thursday for personal reasons. Veteran John Grahame was summoned from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League and served as Budaj's backup...Dupuis snapped a 28-game goal drought...The Avalanche fell to 0-21-2 when scoring two goals or less...Columbus had lost six straight to Colorado...Forsberg finished with a minus-2 rating...Colorado wraps up its four-game road trip Saturday in Nashville...The Blue Jackets visit Dallas on Sunday.
02/11 22:37:17 ET