NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, April 10th
(All times Eastern)
Colorado Avalanche (51-21-7) at Vancouver Canucks (35-33-11), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - With a chance to grab a share of first place in the
Central Division, the Colorado Avalanche try to extend an eight-game point
streak on Thursday night when they visit the Vancouver Canucks.
The Avs are on a 7-0-1 tear and have pulled within two points of the division-
leading St. Louis Blues with three games left for both clubs. The Blues also
are in action on Thursday as they visit the Minnesota Wild.
Colorado also is trying to hold off the third-place Chicago Blackhawks, who
are two points back of the Avs but have just two games remaining in the
regular season. The Blackhawks are idle tonight.
The Avalanche bounced back from a shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins by
besting the Edmonton Oilers 4-1 on Tuesday. Defenseman Erik Johnson put
Colorado ahead for good, scoring on an individual effort 12 seconds after the
Oilers had tied the game at 1-1 in the first period.
"Anytime you're a team where you score and the other team comes out the shift
after and scores right after it's definitely a buzz kill and a momentum
killer," said Johnson. "We controlled the pace of the game, the entire game,
after that and maybe that was the reason why. Maybe not but it definitely felt
good to get that go-ahead goal at that time."
Tyson Barrie, Jamie McGinn and Paul Stastny all scored for the Avalanche,
while Ryan O'Reilly and Nathan MacKinnon both had two assists. Jean-Sebastien
Giguere made 22 saves.
Colorado picked up a victory in the opener of a season-ending four-game road
trip and also will visit San Jose on Friday and Anaheim on Sunday.
While the Avs are already assured a playoff spot, the Canucks are set to miss
the postseason for the first time since 2007-08. They had won five straight
Northwest Division titles in that span, but have struggled this season in the
new-look Pacific Division following realignment.
Vancouver lost for the fourth time in five games on Monday, with the 3-0 loss
to the Anaheim Ducks officially knocking the Canucks out of the playoff race.
"It's been a while, we're disappointed for sure," Canucks defenseman Kevin
Bieksa said. "The last few weeks have been very disappointing."
Eddie Lack was tagged for all three goals on 23 shots in the loss for the
Repercussions were felt the following day when team president and general
manager Mike Gillis was fired on Tuesday. Vancouver then hired former team
captain Trevor Linden as the president of hockey operations and alternate
governor on Wednesday.
The Canucks will wrap the regular season with a trip to Edmonton on Saturday
before hosting Calgary the following day.
Though the Canucks and Avs have split two meetings this season, Vancouver is
19-1-3 over the previous 23 meetings and Colorado has dropped nine in a row as
the guest in this series.
The Avalanche's last victory in Vancouver came back on April 6, 2010, a 4-3
04/10 10:58:17 ET