The Colorado Avalanche have avoided the second half slump they faced last season, and have gained six points in their last four games. They have six games before the NHL trade deadline passes on February 27, and five of those games are on the road. Will they be buyers? Sellers at the deadline? It all depends on how they fare the next six games, starting on Wednesday night against their division rivals, the Vancouver Canucks.
The Avalanche have been putrid against the Northwest Division this season, with a league worst 2-12-1 divisional record. Colorado has played the Canucks three times this season and have been outscored by a 12-2 margin against the reigning Western Conference champions. Their most recent attempt was also their most successful, a 3-2 shootout loss in Denver.
Colorado desperately needs points in every game to maintain their position in the standings, and the Canucks may just be the team to oblige them. Vancouver has gone to the extra period in 11 of the 17 games they have played in 2012, and have gone to the shootout in five of their six February games.
In net, Roberto Luongo has regained a strangehold on the starting goalie position after a rough start to the season. Luongo has started eight of Vancouver's past 10 games and has a stout .933 SV% during that stretch. Colorado will turn to veteran Jean-Sebastien Giguere in net.
Puck drops at 8:00 p.m. MDT.