The Colorado Avalanche begin the unofficial second half of their season tonight as they visit the Vancouver Canucks. Colorado went into the break on a 10-2 run, unfortunately those two losses came in the last two games. The Avalanche will look to get back to their winning ways as they take a trip through Western Canada.
With games against the Canucks, Oilers and Jets, the Avalanche should be looking for two wins during this trip. The team has proven they can win at home, now it’s time to show they can be just as effective on the road.
The Canucks are near the bottom of the Western Conference standings and are one of the NHL’s worst offensive teams. Tonight is a game the Avalanche should win, and it is a good way to set the tone for a long string of road games coming up.
It looks as though the break did some good for the team it looks like Tyson Barrie might be ready to get back into the lineup tonight. Nothing is official, but he participated with the team yesterday and took regular reps on the right side with Patrik Nemeth.
The good news continues as Semyon Varlamov was also at practice yesterday and looked like he is nearing a return to game action. He won’t play tonight, but there is a good chance we seem him later this week.
Sven Andrighetto and Mark Barberio didn't travel with the team, so they will be out tonight, and likely for the games in Edmonton and Winnipeg as well. As insurance for the trip, David Warsofsky and Andrei Mironov were recalled from San Antonio, but we are unlikely to see either of them - unless Tyson Barrie suffers a set back before game time.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau
Gabriel Bourque/Dominic Toninato - Tyson Jost - Nail Yakupov
Colin Wilson - Alexander Kerfoot - J.T. Compher
Nikita Zadorov - Erik Johnson
Patrik Nemeth - Tyson Barrie
Samuel Girard - Anton Lindholm
With 127 goals for this season, the Arizona Coyotes are the only Western Conference team to score less goals than the Canucks. This is a bad team that is only going to get worse as they sell off players, leading into the trade deadline.
The one shining light is rookie Brock Boeser. The All-Star game MVP is leading the Canucks with 24 goals and 43 points though 46 games. Bo Horvat is back in the lineup after missing significant time with injury. He, along with Boeser signify the future of hockey in Vancouver, and are really the only guys to get excited about.
The Sedins are still around doing their thing, but they signify the old era that most Canucks fans are ready to move on from.
Right now, guys like Thomas Vanek and Sam Gagner are auditioning for playoff contenders, as they probably only have a few more games in a Canucks uniform.
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Brock Boeser
Thomas Vanek - Bo Horvat - Loui Eriksson
Sven Baertschi - Brandon Sutter - Markus Granlund
Sam Gagner - Nic Dowd - Jake Virtanen
Alex Edler - Troy Stecher
Ben Hutton - Chris Tanev
Michael Del Zotto - Alex Biega
Despite Varlamov getting closer to full health, Jonathan Bernier is expected to make his 12th straight start for the Avalanche. He has been outstanding recently and the coaches are going to have a tough decision on their hands once Varlamov is ready.
Bernier is up to 14-9-1 on the season with a .919 sv%.
Across the ice, we are likely to see Jacob Markstrom in net for the Canucks the 27-year-old is 13-16-5 on the season with a .908 sv%.
How to watch
The game will be broadcast on Altitude at 8pm MST and on Sportsnet Pacific for the Avalanche fans in Canada.