Avalanche Back On The Road, Face Rival Vancouver

(Sports Network) - Though the Avalanche's blue line is a little banged up, John-Michael Liles has made sure the unit has contributed to the offense.

The Colorado defender will try to set an NHL record by recording an assist in a ninth straight game to begin the season as his club visits the Vancouver Canucks tonight at Rogers Arena.

Liles has posted 10 helpers over his campaign-opening streak, setting up one goal in Saturday's 6-4 loss to Los Angeles, matching Ottawa's Filip Kuba mark by a defenseman set at the onset of the 2008-09 season. The 29-year-old has gone pointless in seven of his last eight games versus the Canucks, but has 19 assists in 41 career games against them.

His assist in Saturday's game came on Milan Hejduk's game-tying power-play goal in the third period after the Kings' Wayne Simmonds was handed a five- minute major for butt-ending and a 10-minute game misconduct for hitting forward T.J. Galiardi in the groin with the end of his stick.

Los Angeles, though, went ahead for good less than two minutes later after Hejduk scored his second goal of the game on a short-handed tally.

"I know Simmonds, sometimes he just gets caught up in the game," said Galiardi, who did not return to the game. "We got the goal on the power play but we still gave it up at the end."

Paul Stastny also scored twice and both he and Hejduk tallied an assist as well for the Avalanche, who have lost three of their last four. Craig Anderson gave up all six goals on 30 shots in his fifth straight start.

Colorado lost defenseman Scott Hannan to a head injury in the game, but he will travel with the club for its two-game swing through Vancouver and Calgary. However, blueliner Adam Foote (concussion) will not be with the team on its swing after missing Saturday's game.

The Avs will also have a different look in net with Peter Budaj slated to get his second start of the season. He is 5-3-1 with a 2.87 goals-against average in his career versus the Canucks.

Vancouver seeks a second straight win tonight after Friday's 5-1 home victory over Minnesota. The Canucks had lost four of five (1-3-1) heading into that game, including a setback in Minnesota last Tuesday in which center Rick Rypien grabbed a fan on the way to the locker room. He was suspended six games on Friday for his actions.

Raffi Torres scored his 100th career goal and Manny Malhotra had two goals and an assist. Cory Schneider, in his second start of the year, made 23 saves and had an assist as well.

"It's nice when your team averages five goals a game for you offensively," Schneider said. "We seem to be comfortable here at home and really buzz and put pressure on other teams."

Roberto Luongo should get the start tonight and is 3-0-1 over his last four starts against the Avalanche, but just 10-15-4 with a 2.93 GAA when facing them lifetime.

Daniel Sedin had an assist versus the Wild to extend his season-opening point streak to eight games and has seven goals and 11 points over the run. Sedin has notched four goals and four assists in his last six games versus Colorado.

The Canucks took four of six from the Avalanche a season ago and have won seven of the last 10 meetings overall. Colorado has won six of the last nine played in Vancouver.

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