April 15 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing Cody McLeod (55) reacts to his goal during the second period of the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Preview: Colorado Avalanche (47-21-6, 100 pts) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (38-30-6, 82 pts)

The Colorado Avalanche (47-21-6, 100 pts) clinched a playoff berth with a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks Saturday afternoon winning by the final of 3-2. Semyon Varlamov was solid in net, stopping 47-of-49 shots, a .959% save percentage. Forward John Mitchell recorded a goal and an assist in the win. The Avalanche however did receive some bad news as forward Matt Duchene would bang up his MCL and will be out up to four weeks. All indications are pointed towards Duchene missing the first-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

What: NHL Preview:  vs. 
When: Tuesday, April 1st
Where: Nationwide Arena
Time: 7:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM MT
TV: Altitude Sports

This is the second and final meeting between the two teams this season as Colorado has the upper-hand, winning the first match-up back on Dec. 31st by the final score of 5-3. Avalanche forward Matt Duchene who will not play Monday, recorded two assists in the victory. Avalanche’s rookie sensation Nathan MacKinnon put the game away with less than two minutes to go, scoring a power-play goal. Speaking of power-play goals, Colorado was a perfect 3-for-3 on the power-play in that game.

Here is what Nathan MacKinnon has to say about replacing Matt Duchene as the first-line center via ESPN.com:

“You can’t replace a guy like Dutchy. He’s been good for us,” MacKinnon said. “He has a ton of points for us this year, and he’s been a huge difference for us. At the same time we’re going to have to find ways to win without him, and we’re deep and we have a lot of good players that we can do that.”

Projected Starting Goaltenders:

Colorado Avalanche: Semyon Varlamov: 37-14-5, 2.49 GAA, .926% save percentage.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Sergei Bobrovsky: 27-19,4, 2.47 GAA, .919% save percentage.

Tags: Colorado Avalanche NHL Preview

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