The Avalanche are at Rogers Arena tonight to take on the Vancouver Canucks. First place is on the line for both clubs - if the Canucks win in regulation, they would retake the NW Division led from the Avs (thanks to the wins tiebreaker) and vault from 8th to 3rd in the Conference. The Canucks are ice cold, having dropped their last 4 by a combined score of 17-7. That's a bad omen.
The Avs want to stay in first tonight, but a win is also important to them for the potential tiebreaker implications at the end of the season. Vancouver has won the first two meetings between the clubs and the Avs need a regulation win to make sure they still have a shot at the head to head tiebreaker.
While Vancouver has won both games between the two clubs this year, this is the first start for Craig Anderson against the Canucks this year. He hurt his knee warming up during the first meeting in Vancouver back on October 26th, and Peter Budaj handled both starts against Vancouver in his absence. Anderson doesn't have great career numbers against Vancouver; he's just 2-8-1 with a 3.52 GAA and an .878 save percentage against them.
The Canucks may be struggling, but they still own on special teams, with the #1 ranked PP and the #5 ranked PK. They have 4 PP already against the Avalanche while the Avalanche have..uh, zero. It seems like the key to the game for the Avs will be to stay out of the penalty box and score a bunch of even strength goals. Do that, and first place will still belong to us.
|Stewart||24 pts||Top Scorer||The Sedins||24 pts|