Editor's Note: The following post is a part of the 2013 Purple Row Writer Search -- our quest to find some great new contributors to Purple Row.
The Columbus Blue Jackets (1-1-1) are in Denver tonight to visit the Avalanche (1-1) before the Avs head on a four game road trip starting Saturday in San Jose. After an opening night win at Nashville, the Blue Jackets have struggled in their last two games, losing in overtime to that team from Michigan that shall not be named and getting spanked last night in Phoenix, 5-1. Teams don't generally fare well in the second night of back-to-back road games, so this should be a very winnable matchup for the Avs.
Columbus is a different team from last year, as star forward Rick Nash was shipped to New York over the summer in exchange for potential and spare parts. They do have some veteran leadership in defenseman Adrian Aucoin and forward Vinny Prospal, but on balance it's a fairly young team. One player to keep an eye on will be second year center Ryan Johansen, who was the 4th overall pick in the 2010 draft.
The Avalanche were solid in their home opener against the defending champion Kings (0-2-0) Tuesday night. Semyon Varlamov gave up one first period goal to L.A., but shut them down the rest of the night. Three goals in the third period sealed up Colorado's first win of the season, 3-1.
The Avs did suffer a major loss Tuesday as the team announced Steve Downie suffered a torn ACL and is done for the season. Downie was a trade deadline steal for Colorado last year, picking up 13 points in 20 games after being acquired from Tampa for Kyle Quincey. Brad Malone has been called up from Lake Erie to fill the roster spot. Downie's absence will presumably force the Avs into finally getting a deal done with Ryan O'Reilly, who is still an unrestricted free agent and has been playing in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League. Radar reached an agreement today to leave his team, suggesting a contract may be coming soon.