The Vancouver Canucks come to town to play the Colorado Avalanche tonight at Ball Arena in downtown Denver. The Avalanche have won four straight heading into the contest, and on the flip side, the Canucks have lost three straight.
The Avalanche and GM Joe Sakic were very active at the deadline. They acquired defender Josh Manson, forward Artturi Lehknonen, centerman Nico Sturm, and fourth-liner Andrew Cogliano. To secure these players, Sakic only sent one current roster player (Tyson Jost) among picks and prospects (Justin Barron). That should tell the squad that Sakic believes this is the year. Time to answer the call.
Note: There is a chance that Artturi Lehkonen will get his first action in burgundy and blue. Keep an eye on how he elevates the play of Alex Newhook.
Valeri Nichushkin - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Andre Burakovsky - Nazem Kadri - Logan O’Connor
Alex Newhook - JT Compher - Artturi Lehkonen
Andrew Cogliano - Nico Sturm - Darren Helm
Devon Toews - Cale Makar
Jack Johnson - Josh Manson
Kurtis MacDermid - Erik Johnson
Note: Ryan Murray sustained a hand injury in the Avalanche game against the Edmonton Oilers and will be out “weeks, not days,” according to Jared Bednar.
The Canucks come into this one on a slide, winning just one game in their last six chances. In December, Bruce Boudreau was brought in to coach and rejuvenate this squad, who sat in last place in the Pacific Divison. That seemed to do the trick for a while, but things have begun to level off, and they still find themselves outside the playoff picture sitting ten points behind the Nashville Predators for the final wild-card spot.
Tanner Pearson - J.T. Miller - Conor Garland
Elias Petterson - Bo Horvat - Brock Beoser
Juho Lammikko - Brad Richardson - Mathew Highmore
Vasily Podkolzin - Nic Petan - Alex Chiasson
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Tyler Myers
Quinn Hughes - Luke Schenn
Brad Hunt - Noah Juulsen
The Canucks will likely go with Thatcher Demko against a team with so much firepower. Demko is the clear starter in Vancouver, posting a GAA of 2.68 and SV% of .916 this season.
It will likely be Darcy Kuemper in net for the Avalanche who has secured the victory in three straight starts. His GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected) has steadily climbed this season, and he’s now top ten among goaltenders.