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Game 23 Preview: Avalanche at Canucks


Colorado Avalanche
8 MT / 10 ET / 3 GMT
Vancouver Canucks
13-6-3 November 19th, 2009
27 pts GM Place
22 pts
2nd in West
Vancouver, BC
10th in West


Here we go again.The Avalanche have been on an absolute roller coaster of a month, basically alternating between solid efforts and mailed-in snoozers. This trend started on November 1st with the Avalanche getting shut out by...oh, my, it was the Vancouver Canucks! The Avalanche followed that turd (a game I think was more embarrassing than the 8-2 drubbing last weekend) with good efforts against Phoenix and Chicago, the lousy 4 PP goal game against Edmonton, a great game against Chicago, the 8-2 loss where everyone played awesome other than Peter Budaj, another great effort against Calgary before sinking again against Edmonton on Wednesday.

So. which Avalanche team will we see tonight? Advanced Saberhagen metrics tell us the Avalanche's good twin should be in attendance tonight. Then again, the Avs have been outscored 11-2 in the last two games against Vancouver, so maybe it will be the bad twin. I guess I'm too wishy-washy to make a call on this one. I'm also too damn old to be staying up until 1 AM to watch a hockey game, so a recap from me is unlikely.

While the Avalanche have had a busy week, traveling to the Great White North and playing back to back games in Alberta, the Canucks have had a slightly easier go of it. They've been off all week, idle since Saturday's win over the Avs. For Vancouver, this is a bizarre, stretched out home and home. The time off isn't quite enough for injured Daniel Sedin, however. He's aiming for a Sunday return.

In other scheduling news, after playing tonight the Avalanche have the weekend off (they host Ian Laperriere and the Flyers on Monday). From a quick perusal of the schedule, it appears this is the only weekend of the season for the Avs (excluding the Olympic break, of course). So, take advantage of the time off to spend some quality time with your spouses, significant others, children, pets, whatever. Or, spend the weekend cluttering up MHH with funny comments and terrific photoshops. The choice is yours.

Where is Tyler Arnason today?

Arnason, wearing #15 and, apparently, playing as Tayler Arnason (no doubt to protect his identity), made his long-awaited KHL debut on Wednesday and led his Riga Dynamo to a dramatic 6-4 win in front of 8,450 rabid Moscow fans. Arnason played 8 minutes and was an impressive 7/10 in the faceoff circle. Unfortunately, he was a -1 as he was on the ice at the 45 minute mark when Moscow's Kirill Knyazev buried a pretty pass from Yaroslav Obshut and Roman Lyuduchin to beat Riga goalie Edgar Maskalaskis. That was a big goal, cutting the Riga lead to 5-3. Thankfully, Yanis Sprutks scored a big goal 5 minutes later to ice the game (man, he's been clutch like that all year, hasn't he?). A late Spartak goal by Bronco Radievoyevic (not HIM again) was too little too late. 

Saturday, Taylor is in Yaroslavl to take on Daniel Tjarnqvist and the rest of the Lokomotiv. I hope he's ready, because I'm sure head coach Kari Heikkilä is going to have his team ready! For those who don't know, Yaroslavl is a city of about 615,000 located 155 miles NE of Moscow. Today, Yaroslavl is an important industrial center (petrochemical plant, tire manufacturing plant, diesel engines plant and many others). It is the home town of opera singer Leonid Sobinov, Valentina Tereshkova (the first woman in space) and Oiler's defenseman Denis Grebeshkov.