The Colorado Avalanche finished their eight game homestand in style, winning four of the last five games over some pretty tough competition. Now they head out onto the road for a three game road swing through Canada against divisional rivals. Their first opponent is the Vancouver Canucks.
Vancouver has been riding the hot hand of goalie Cory Schneider lately, as he has a .941 SV% in his last eight games. But for this game, it appears the Canucks will have Roberto Luongo in net as a starter. Luongo has fallen off a cliff production-wise this season, with a dismal .896 SV% in 15 games. This is no longer an issue of sample size; it has become a serious concern for Canucks fans as his contract is nearly untradeable.
The Avalanche counter with Semyon Varlamov, who has won three straight games. The young Russian goaltender appears to have emerged out of his early season slump and has put up excellent numbers in the past six games. But the real story has been the emergence of Ryan O`Reilly as a two-way force. The 20 year old center has four goals in the past three games (along with three assists) and currently leads the team in points.
This is a big game for the young Avalanche. If they can defeat the Canucks in regulation, on the road, they will move into a tie for third place and will sit only two points behind Vancouver. A loss will keep them towards the bottom of the Northwest Division standings with two more divisional road games left on this trip.
Puck drops at 8:00 p.m. MDT.
For more coverage, visit our Avalanche blog Mile High Hockey or our Canucks blog Nucks Misconduct.