Great at Home

The Colorado Avalanche remain one of the league's best home teams in spite of injuries and their recent play there.

On Sunday night, the banged-up Avalanche look to rebound from their most recent loss at the Pepsi Center and continue their home dominance over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Colorado -139 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 62% of bets for this game have been placed on Colorado -139 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

Colorado (25-18-4) had won three straight overall before opening a five-game homestand with a 2-1 shootout loss to Chicago on Friday. The defeat was the fourth in five home games for the Avalanche, who are 16-6-1 there to tie Columbus and Anaheim for second-most wins in the Western Conference behind Detroit's 19.

The Avalanche can get back on track versus Columbus (23-19-6), a team they've outscored at home 49-18 en route to a 12-1-0 record all time. Colorado beat the Blue Jackets 5-1 on Oct. 13 in Denver, but have lost both road meetings this season.

On Friday, the Avalanche earned a point in their first game without leading scorer Paul Stastny, who underwent an appendectomy on Thursday.

Stastny, who has 17 goals and 32 assists and will be out for three weeks. He joins stars Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth on Colorado's injured list. Sakic (hernia) has been out since late November and Smyth (broken ankle) since late December.

"It's a real good test for us,'' said Andrew Brunette, who extended his point streak to four games with a goal against Chicago . "It's a good chance for a lot of our young guys to get a chance to play and prove themselves in this league.''

Brunette has three goals with three assists in his last four contests, and three assists versus Columbus this season.

Milan Hejduk had an assist Friday giving him points in his last four games (two goals, two assists). He had two goals and an assist in Colorado's win over the Blue Jackets earlier this season.

Jose Theodore made 22 saves, but lost for the first time in his last four starts Friday. He has a 1.92 goals-against average in his last four games.

"We're playing really well right now," said Theodore, who is 3-2-0 with a 2.00 GAA versus the Blue Jackets, but was in goal for Colorado's 4-1 loss at Columbus on Dec. 12 in the teams' most recent meeting. "Just knowing that if you do your job you are going to have a good chance to win the game or get points."

Columbus (23-19-6), meanwhile, had its four-game winning streak snapped with a 3-1 loss at Dallas on Saturday. The Blue Jackets, who scored 15 goals during their streak.

Nikolai Zherdev scored in his third straight game for the Blue Jackets, who lost despite matching the franchise record for fewest shots allowed with 14.

"I thought we outplayed them, but we didn't close,'' said Columbus' Rick Nash, who failed to register a point Saturday, but has two goals versus Colorado this season. "We have to close better."

Zherdev has five goals and two assists in his last five contests. He has only two assists in six career games at Colorado.

After sitting out Saturday, Pascal Leclaire is expected to be in net looking for his fifth straight victory and first against Colorado. Leclaire, who is 17-8-3 with a 2.03 GAA, is 0-4-1 with a 3.85 GAA in six starts versus the Avalanche.

Columbus, 7-13-2 on the road, will play the third of a five-game trip.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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