NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, November 23rd
(All times Eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (10-9-1) at Colorado Avalanche (9-11-1), 9:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Colorado Avalanche are hoping to turn things around on
their eight-game homestand, but after a split of the first two contests they
now run into a foe that has been more than a handful over the past two years.
The Vancouver Canucks look to extend an 11-game series point streak in
tonight's meeting at the Pepsi Center, where the Avs look to win for just the
fourth time this season.
Colorado improved to 2-6-1 in November when it won the opener of its homestand
on Friday versus Dallas. That victory also halted a three-game slide overall,
but the Avalanche failed to build off of it and lost a 4-1 decision to the
Sharks on Sunday.
Matt Duchene scored the game's first goal for Colorado, but the offense was
stifled from there. Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 14 saves in his third
straight start as the Avs fell to 3-7-0 as the host this year.
"We didn't get the puck out at times at the blue line," said Duchene, who has
scored in two straight and four of five games. "They made us pay. They are a
very skilled team and if you make a mistake, it will likely end up in the back
of your own net."
Duchene leads the Avalanche with nine goals on the season, with seven of them
coming in November. That is one shy of his personal best for a single month
behind the eight he netted in December of 2010.
The 20-year-old Duchene has six goals in 12 career games versus the Canucks,
who are 9-0-2 in their last 11 versus the Avalanche since a 3-0 Colorado win
at home on Oct. 3, 2009. That includes a 4-0-1 mark in five trips to Denver
since, though Colorado notched a 4-3 overtime win in the last meeting at the
Pepsi Center on Jan. 18.
David Jones had two goals, including the game-winner, and teammate Paul
Stastny, who has 27 points in 30 games against the Canucks, is hoping for a
turnaround in this series tonight.
"We know we have to pick it up at home," said Stastny. "From the beginning of
the year to now I think we've been better, sometimes it's just a matter of a
couple bounces here and there, but it's a big homestand. It's an important
stretch for us."
It is unknown if the Avalanche will be facing Roberto Luongo or Cory Schneider
in goal tonight. Vancouver's No. 1 goaltender, Luongo has missed the last two
games with an upper-body injury, but skated on Monday.
"I feel like I'm ready to go and get back in there," Luongo said. "My goal is
to be at least in uniform for Wednesday's game. Whether I'm starting or not is
[head coach Alain Vigneault's] decision, but I feel ready to go."
Keith Ballard was also at practice after missing Sunday's 2-1 overtime victory
against Ottawa with a back injury. Schneider earned the victory with 28 saves.
"We want to get back to playing tight-checking games like this," Schneider
said. "With our structure and our talent, we'll be able to win most of them."
Henrik Sedin had a power-play goal and Chris Higgins potted the game-winner
2:18 into overtime as Vancouver won for the fourth time in six games.
The victory was the 246th for Vigneault as the Canucks' head coach, tying Marc
Crawford for the franchise record.
11/23 10:51:00 ET