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Game 73 Preview: Canucks at Avalanche

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Spor

It's a reversal of fortunes this season as the Vancouver Canucks (34-30-10) roll into town on the outside looking in, while the Colorado Avalanche (45-21-6) sit firmly in the playoff race. It would be a lie to say it's not a fabulous turn of events.

This is the second of three meetings between the former division rivals, and it will be interesting to see if Vancouver still has an edge over the Avs. They certainly did in December, with the Avs putting in a lackluster showing (3-1 Vancouver). Is the massive and continued decline in their team enough to change things? I wouldn't hold your breath, especially with the dung heap we saw against Nashville.

One of the story lines for this game has to be the potential fire between the benches. With hothead John Tortorella and passionate Patrick Roy, there just may be a juicy confrontation, especially since Torts has to be frustrated with the way things are going. You might want to set your DVR to record this one because, if there is a showdown between these two bench bosses, it will be memorable.

Vancouver is on the second night of a back-to-back, having faced the Minnesota Wild last night in Minny. Even though the Canucks decidedly won, the Wild are certainly motivated right now as they're sitting just a few points ahead of Phoenix for the top Wild Card spot, so they gave the Canucks a run of it. No one wants to face the St. Louis Blues, so that wild card #1 is an important place to be.

Henrik Sedin didn't make this trip, so we will be without his diving offense tonight. Word on the street is that John Mitchell will also miss tonight's game, although Coach Roy has yet to give a definitive answer on that.

The Avs haven't had more than a 3-game losing streak all season, no matter how hard they tried to make that happen in Music City. Roy regaled captain Gabriel Landeskog and Alternate Captain Paul Stastny as the reasons for the win:

"[Tuesday] was a good example of leadership. We barely touched the puck in the first period," Roy said Wednesday. "The shots were something like 13-1, and the scoring chances were even worse. But these two guys, at the end of the first, made a big play -- Paul made a nice pass to Landy for the shot and it was 2-1. We were back in the game. That gave life to our team. In the second period, they scored another nice one to tie it. These guys work really well together.

Game is at 7 pm MT and can be seen on TV: SNET-P; ALT.

74 34-30-10 18-11-6 16-19-4 6-4-0 2.38 2.58 15.1 83.5 13.8 30.6 28.7 51.0
72 45-21-6 23-11-3 22-10-3 5-4-1 3.01 2.71 20.2 80.0 10.4 29.3 32.6 49.5