Canucks at Avalanche, Game 31 Preview

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

The Canucks (16-9-6) visit the Pepsi Center to face the struggling Avalanche (11-15-4) at the end of a back-to-back.

Tonight the Avs look to prevent another losing streak against their division "rivals," the Vancouver Canuck. It's hard to call this matchup a true division "rivalry" anymore, since Vancouver has flat out dominated the Avalanche for a number of years now. Lets take a look at that history:

  • This season the Canucks won the only matchup 3-0
  • In the 2011-2012 season the Avalanche lost all 6 games against the Canucks by a combined score of 18-5
  • In 2011-2012 the Canucks shut out the Avalanche on 3 separate occasions.
  • In 2010-2011 the Canucks won all but one game against the Avalanche, collecting 11 out of 12 possible points.
  • In 2009-2010 the Canucks collected 9 out of 12 possible points against the Avalanche.
That last statistic, shockingly, brings us to the Avalanche's last regulation win over the Vancouver Canucks. A 3-0 win at the Pepsi Center on October 3, 2009. For perspective, that was Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly's second career NHL game. Craig Anderson pitched the shutout while Wojtek Wolski and Darcy Tucker both scored goals. That is how long it's been since the Colorado Avalanche beat the Vancouver Canucks in just 60 minutes of play.

As for this evenings matchup; the Avalanche (11-15-4) will look to bounce back after a disappointing effort against the Dallas Stars Saturday evening. The Canucks (16-9-6) enter the Pepsi Center riding a three-game win streak, but only 5-3-2 in their last 10 games. Like the Avalanche, the Canucks are also playing their second game of a back-to-back series, after beating the LA Kings 1-0. After Corey Schneider's shutout Saturday, the Canucks will likely start Roberto Luongo in net.

The Avalanche will likely have some lineup changes as well. Gabriel Landeskog or Milan Hejduk could return from their day-to-day injuries, while any one of the teams underachieving forwards could see the pressbox like David Jones and Jamie McGinn did on Wednesday. The Avalanche would have likely started J.S. Giguere in net this game, but after his performance in relief of Semyon Varlamov yesterday, either goalie could be in play for coach Joe Sacco today. Last, after allowing 5 goals to the Stars, the Avlanche's wheel of mediocre defensemen could spin once more. It would be unsurprising to see Greg Zanon back in the lineup in favor of one of the Avs other bottom five defensemen.

Things to watch for:

  • Can the Avalanche score the first goal of the game?
  • Can Matt Duchene pick up at least a point? He needs at least one point to stay over 1.00 PPG on the season
  • Avalanche swan song. With the trade deadline less than two weeks away, which Avalanche players may be playing their final games in Burgundy and Blue?
Puck drops 6:00pm MT on Altitude (8:00pm ET)


Lets "go" Avs?

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