After their heartbreaking 1-0 shutout loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night, the Colorado Avalanche now are faced with the difficult task of a matinee game against the Northwest DIvision leading Vancouver Canucks.
Colorado's current division record stands at 2-12 for the season for a mere four out of 24 possible points, easily the worst in the league. By comparison, the Avalanche are 24-13-2 against the rest of league, easily a contending playoff team. These Northwest division woes have already been an anchor on Colorado's playoff hopes, and continued failure against teams like Minnesota, Edmonton, and Calgary would be the death knell on the season.
Vancouver is not one of those teams. Already confident of a top three seed in the Western Conference playoffs, the Canucks continue to roll through the division boosted by their 10-3 division record. They are 3-1-1 in their last five games. Nine Canucks have scored at least five points in the past 10 games, led by 21 year old Cody Hodgson, who is having a breakout season in his first full year playing in the NHL. Goalie Roberto Luongo has also recovered from his early seasons woes, posting a .922 SV% in his past seven starts.
This will be a difficult matchup for Colorado. In their two previous contests this season, Vancouver mahandled the Avalanche by scores of 3-0 and 6-0. Colorado needs to find a way to overcome the Canucks, as they have 1-6-1 record against Vancouver the past two seasons and have been outscored 29-13 in those contests. With four more games against Vancouver this season, these remaining divisional games could make or break their season.
Puck drops at 1:00 p.m. MDT.