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Game Day: Canucks sliding into Denver

The Avalanche attempt to extend a streak; Canucks look to end a skid.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Vancouver Canucks Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

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.

COLORADO AVALANCHE

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.

FORWARDS

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

DEFENDERS

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.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

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.

FORWARDS

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

DEFENDERS

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Tyler Myers

Quinn Hughes - Luke Schenn

Brad Hunt - Noah Juulsen

GOALTENDERS

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.