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Game 8 Preview: Canucks at Avalanche

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The Vancouver Canucks (4-2-0) visit Colorado (1-4-2) to finish off a Central Division back-to-back series.

Creepy Twin Powers ACTIVATE
Creepy Twin Powers ACTIVATE
Doug Pensinger

Welcome back Avs fans.  After two days off the Avalanche are set to take the ice at Pepsi Center in search of their first home win and second win of the season.  Lets take a quick look at that start by the numbers:

In 82 Games Last Year: The Avalanche were shut out once

In 7 Games This Year: The Avalanche have been shut out twice

In 82 Games Last Year: The Avalanche were nails with a 3rd period lead (Lost once?)

In 7 Games This Year: The Avalanche have lost 3 times despite a 3rd period lead. Once in regulation.

In 82 Games Last Year: The Avalanche had a goal differential of +30

In 7 Games This Year: The Avalanche have a goal differential of -12

In 82 Games Last Year: The Avalanche were 2nd in the Western Conference

In 7 Games This Year: Dead last and near the top in games played.

After tonight we'll have roughly 10% of the NHL season in the rearview mirror, and while mathematical elimination is still a long ways off, we all know from past experience that a season can fall apart long before that point. The season isn't over yet, but if the Avalanche don't get this thing turned around soon, it could be over in a hurry.

Game Notes:

  • Semyon Varlamov is expected back between the pipes for the Colorado Avalanche after missing one week with a groin injury.
  • Zach Redmond is slated to make his season debut for the Avalanche on the 3rd defensive pairing.  Operation #FreeRedmond is a success (for now).
  • Marc Andre Cliche is just 4 shots away from catching Dennis Everberg in the SOG category.  A big milestone for the Avs' fourth liner.
  • Nathan MacKinnon and Jarome Iginla are both still searching for their first goals of the season.
  • The Canucks are coming fresh off a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues, here's a look at their recap from last night(Warning: these guys look good in the highlights)
  • The Avalanche meanwhile are coming off their 4th consecutive loss, last season they never lost 5 games in a row, hopefully they keep that habit this year.

Lineup:

Alex Tanguay - Matt Duchene - Jarome Iginla

Gabriel Landeskog - Ryan O`Reilly - Nathan MacKinnon

Jamie McGinn - John Mitchell - Max Talbot

Cody McLeod - Daniel Briere - Marc Andre Cliche

Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson

Brad Stuart - Tyson Barrie

Nick Holden - Zach Redmond

Semyon Varlamov

Reto Berra

Scratches: Nate Guenin (healthy), Ryan Wilson (eligible for IR), Calvin Pickard (3rd healthy goalie) Returned to LE

Three Questions with Nucks Misconduct:

1. Last year the Avs were pretty good and you guys were pretty bad, now all of a sudden the Canucks are pretty good and we're flat out terrible. Why are the Canucks good now?

Missy: To be fair, we're not 100% sure the Canucks are good yet, since we opened with 3 straight wins against Alberta teams. We let Steven Stamkos score within the first 53 seconds of last weekend's game, and Dallas was already up 6-1 in the 2nd period Tuesday night. Our win last night against the Blues was very good for us, and we're watching to see how we build on that. So far, we are loving are top two lines: the Sedin twins are working well with Vrbata, and putting Nick Bonino with Alex Burrows and Chris Higgins has been the most exciting line we've seen in a while. (I'm trying to get the line nickname "Higgy Burrino" to become fetch.) On defense, Edler and Tanev are working well together, and Luca Sbisa appears to be learning our ways while playing with Kevin Bieksa a lot. Finally, Ryan Miller is adapting well to the new team.

2.  Are you taking good care of our old friend Radim Vrbata?

Missy: Radim Vrbata is a wonderful fit with Daniel and Henrik. He has 7 points so far in 6 games, while the twins have 8 each. He also has 4 goals already, all of which had assists for each twin, and holds the team lead in that respect. We're loving him so far.

3. Alex Edler and Dan Hamhuis seem like two pretty cool dudes who would like it in Colorado and happen to be left shooting defensmen... Can we please have them?

Missy: Hmm, let's see now. Hammer is a dedicated BC boy, and Edler is my favourite Canuck. I'm going to let Dr. Evil answer this one:

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/xxSI1QsIo8g" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

You can convince Missy to give us Edler at @NM_Missy on twitter or the other Nucks fans at @nucksmisconduct

Game Info:

Puck Drops at 9:00 PM EST, 7:00 PM MST at the Pepsi Center

Or catch the game on Altitude, SN1, or TVA Sports 2.