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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, December 5th (All times eastern)

Columbus Blue Jackets (7-16-2) at Colorado Avalanche (12-12-2), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Colorado Avalanche try to draw closer in the Northwest Division race tonight when they welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Pepsi Center.

With 26 points, the Avs are tied with Calgary for last in the divisional race. However, both teams are a mere four points behind first-place Edmonton.

The Avs have lost two of their last three games, including Saturday's 2-1 tilt in Vancouver. Taylor Pyatt scored the game-winning goal in the third period and Roberto Luongo made 40 saves to lift the Canucks.

John-Michael Liles scored the lone goal for the Avalanche, who had won five of their previous seven games.

Avs goaltender Jose Theodore faced just six shots in the first period before leaving the game with a hip flexor injury. Peter Budaj took his place and finished with 16 saves.

Theodore is day-to-day, and will likely have the night off in favor of Budaj.

The Avs, who will play their 1,000th game -- regular and postseason -- since moving from Quebec in 1995, visit San Jose on Thursday.

Columbus, meanwhile, ended a two-game skid on Saturday. Fredrik Norrena made 21 saves to record his first career shutout, as the Blue Jackets blanked the Edmonton Oilers, 4-0.

Dan Fritsche scored a goal and had two assists, while Anson Carter also scored for the Blue Jackets.

Alexander Svitov and Gilbert Brule also found the net for Columbus, which improved to 2-3-0 since Ken Hitchcock took over as head coach.

Columbus will visit St. Louis on Saturday to finish a three-game road trip.

Colorado is 2-0-0 against Columbus this season and has won seven consecutive meetings. Overall, the Avs are 20-1-1 (1 tie) in the 22 all-time meetings, including a 10-0 mark in Denver.

The Blue Jackets' lone win in the series occurred on February 28, 2004 -- a 5-4 overtime decision at Nationwide Arena.

12/05 10:16:35 ET


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