Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Avalanche (3.24.13)
|Team Record: 16-9-6
Last Game: 1-0 W at Los Angeles (MAR.23.13)
Season Series: 1-0-0
Last Meeting: 3-0 W (JAN.30.13)
|Team Record: 11-15-4
Last Game: 2-5 L at Dallas (MAR.23.13)
Season Series: 0-1-0
Last Meeting: 0-3 L (JAN.30.13)
The Vancouver Canucks (16-9-6) will try to complete a perfect sweep of their three-game road trip tonight when they battle the Western Conference cellar-dwelling Colorado Avalanche (11-15-4) at the Pepsi Center.What You Need to Know
- The Canucks have a chance to go a perfect three-for-three on their three-game road swing tonight after winning the first two games of the trip including netting a 1-0 win yesterday afternoon in Los Angeles. Vancouver is also looking to extend their overall win streak to four games.
- The Avs come in as losers of five of their last six games (1-5-0), including dropping a 5-2 decision in Dallas last night.
- Tonight marks the second of four meetings between the Canucks and Avalanche this season, and the first of two times the clubs will face one another in the next five days. They'll battle again this coming Thursday back at Rogers Arena.
- In their first meeting of the season back on January 30, G Roberto Luongo stopped all 24 shots he faced and D Jason Garrison's first period marker stood up as the game-winner in a 3-0 Canucks triumph.
- Avalanche G Semyon Varlamov has started the last nine straight games but, last night, was pulled for the second time in those last nine games. He was in net for Colorado's 3-0 loss to Vancouver back on January 30.
- Canucks G Cory Schneider picked up his second shutout of the season last night but might be the backup tonight with the back-to-back scenario. G Roberto Luongo wouldn't be a bad pick to start against the Avs considering he has personal career record of 18-15-5 against Colorado with a 2.66 GAA and a .911 save percentage along with three shutouts.
- As a team, the Canucks are riding a shutout streak of 151:39 against the Avalanche dating back to exactly one year ago today.
- The Canucks are looking to continue their recent domination over the Avs tonight. They have won their last eight straight games against Colorado and have earned points in 18 straight games against the Avs (16-0-2) dating back to November 1, 2009. The Canucks have also won their last three straight games at the Pepsi Center and haven't lost in regulation in their last eight trips to Denver (7-0-1).
- The Canucks have a chance to reclaim top spot in the Northwest Division tonight if they can earn at least one point against the Avs. However, the current division leader Wild will have two games in hand on the Canucks by the end of tonight.
- Canucks D Alex Edler will sit out the second and final game of his two-game suspension tonight.
Tonight's game faces off at 5 pm PT and can be seen on Sportsnet Pacific. Listen live on The TEAM 1040 Sports Radio or online at teamradio.ca.
Those away from a TV or radio can follow @CanucksGame on Twitter for live in-game play-by-play.
Keys to the Game
The Canucks Win If...
- They play another perfect road game. If there was ever such a thing as a perfect road outing, the Canucks came close to it yesterday. It might not make for great hockey but the Canucks will want to try and repeat that same shut down style tonight as they will once again be tasked with trying to win a game with a depleted lineup.
- Their goalie stands on his head. It's safe to say that if the Canucks choose to employ a similar style to yesterday's outing then a big part of that plan succeeding hinges on their netminder being rock solid, if not spectacular. If that goalie is Schneider, he's been playing some of his finest hockey lately winning three in a row while only allowing three goals on 85 combined shots over those outings. If that goalie is Luongo, he'll need to get his groove back after allowing three-or-more goals in three consecutive outings.
- The first line chips in offensively. The good news for the Canucks so far on their current road swing is their second unit of Hansen, Raymond and Schroeder have been on fire accounting for all three goals on the trip to date. But for the Canucks to have any sustained success they know their top line will have to get back to their scoring ways. There's no better time than for that line to bump their short two-game slump than tonight.
The Avalanche Win If...
- They channel their streak-snapping ways. The Avs have the distinction of being the team that snapped the most impressive streak in the NHL this season - that being Chicago's record-setting point streak to start the season. They'll need some of that magic tonight if they want to put their own long streak of futility against the Canucks to an end.
- They limit their shots against. The Avs have given up three-or-more goals in their last six straight outings (total of 28 goals during that stretch) and one of the reasons that might be the case is because they've also given up a ton of shots. They've surrendered 30-or-more shots in five of those last six outings. They'll clearly want to decrease those numbers especially knowing a good number of those shots are ending up in the back of their net.
- They take advantage of the man-advantage. Considering the Avs are 6-5-1 in games where they score on the power play and 5-10-3 when they don't, it's no question that getting production on the power play is crucial to their success. The Avs have scored just one power play goal in their last four outings and have scored just 5 PPGs on 32 opportunities (15.6 percent) over their last 13 games. They went 0-for-4 in their loss to the Canucks back on January 30.
Ones to Watch
The good news for the Canucks is they are undefeated this season when Maxim Lapierre scores a goal. The bad news is Lapierre has only managed to tickle the twine twice this season.
One of those times just happened to be against the Avs back in the first meeting between the clubs back on January 30. Lapierre will be hoping that history can repeat itself tonight when he leads his team into action against Colorado for the second time this season. Considering the Canucks expect tonight's game to be a grind-it-out type affair with not a whole lot of back-and-forth action, this game might just be tailor-made for someone of Lapierre's ilk to play the role of scoring hero.
Lapierre has suited up in 19 career games against the Avalanche netting two goals and 18 penalty minutes.
With the NHL trade deadline fast approaching and the Avalanche sitting far and away from the playoff cutoff line, there have been no shortage of Colorado players that have been mentioned in the rumour mills and one of those players happens to be Paul Stastny.
Once thought to be the future face of the franchise for the Avs, the 27-year-old centre has seen his production levels drop since putting up 70-plus points in three of his first four NHL campaigns. As a result, he appears to have lost his spot as the poster boy for the Avs to the likes of Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog. Stastny's play over the next week-and-a-half might just determine whether he stays put in Denver or he'll soon be calling a new city his home.
Stastny had just one point in six outings prior to netting two points against the Stars last night. He'll be looking to string together points in consecutive games for the first time since he had a three-game point streak from January 31 to February 4. He was held point-less against the Canucks back on January 30. In 36 career games against Vancouver, Stastny has seven goals and 29 points.
Game Notes on Canucks.com are written by Daniel Fung. Follow him on Twitter @daniel_fung or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.