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Wednesday, March 26th (All times eastern)

Vancouver Canucks (38-28-10) at Colorado Avalanche (40-31-6), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Canucks failed to distance themselves from the Avalanche last time out. Now, Vancouver will try to avoid getting passed by Colorado in the standings, as the two clubs square off tonight at the Pepsi Center.

Vancouver and Colorado both have 86 points on the season and occupy the seventh and eighth spots, respectively, in the Western Conference. The Canucks had a chance to put some space between themselves and the Avalanche last night, but dropped a 3-2 decision in Calgary.

The Canucks, who still have one game in hand over the Avs, outshot Calgary 21-7 in the first period and goals by Markus Naslund and Daniel Sedin separated by 12 seconds in the frame gave Vancouver an early lead it could not hold.

Roberto Luongo surrendered three goals on 40 shots in defeat.

Vancouver dropped the opener of a three-game road trip that wraps in Minnesota on Friday. The Canucks are 18-16-5 as the visiting club after dropping five of their last eight on the road.

Vancouver will also be trying to halt a four-game losing streak to Colorado, a skid that comes on the heels of winning its first two against the Avs this season. Overall, the Canucks have lost nine of their last 14 to Colorado and five of seven at the Pepsi Center.

Luongo has allowed 16 goals in six games against the Avalanche this year en route to a 2-3-1 mark and 2.78 goals-against average. Henrik Sedin, who assisted on twin brother Daniel's goal versus Calgary, has three goals and four helpers versus Colorado this season.

Vancouver will likely face Jose Theodore in net tonight. In four starts against the Canucks this season, Theodore is 3-0-1 with 1.71 GAA.

The Colorado netminder had been struggling down the stretch, allowing 11 goals in four starts (0-3-0) before posting 23 saves and his third shutout of the season in a 2-0 win over the Flames on Monday.

Jordan Leopold and Milan Hejduk scored for the Avalanche, who began a three- game homestand by snapping a four-game skid. Colorado, which concludes it homestand on Friday against Edmonton, won for the sixth time in seven games in Denver and upped its home mark to 24-12-2.

Along with Vancouver, Colorado is four points behind first-place Calgary in the Northwest Division.

Ryan Smyth assisted on Leopold's goal for his 600th NHL point, while Wojtek Wolski notched his 100th career point with a helper.

Peter Forsberg returned to the lineup after missing six of Colorado's previous seven contests. Forsberg has played in just five games, posting three assists, since joining the club on February 25.

However, defenseman Adam Foote sat out his second straight game and sixth overall due to a lingering hip injury since joining Colorado at the trade deadline.

03/26 10:42:02 ET


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