In their second game in as many days, the Colorado Avalanche (7-4-2) will close out its trip to Western Canada with a clash against the Vancouver Canucks (8-6-0) on Friday. It will be the first of three meetings between the clubs during the 2018-19 campaign, and the only regular-season game at Rogers Arena.
The Avs own a 58-41-17 mark when facing Vancouver (since 1995-96), with a 29-22-8 record as the visiting team.
After the Friday matchup, Colorado will have four days without a game as it gets back to action on Wednesday when they face the Nashville Predators for the first time this year.
Last Time Out
Colorado fell to the Calgary Flames by a score of 6-5 in Calgary on Thursday. The Avs jumped out to a 4-1 lead, behind Vladislav Kamanev and Sheldon Dries first career NHL goals. The Flames answered with five consecutive goals in the third period, before Gabriel Landeskog found the back of the net to make the score 6-5. Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov faced made 31 saves.
The Canucks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 on Wednesday behind a two-goal effort from Jake Virtanen. Brendan Gaunce also had a two-point outing, scoring in the third period and assisting on Antoine Roussel's marker. The Canucks went 0-for-3 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill. Jacob Markstrom was in net and made 24 saves in the victory.
Last Time They Met
The Avalanche prevailed in a 3-1 win on Feb. 26, 2018, the most recent clash between the Western Conference foes. Colorado never trailed as Mikko Rantanen scored in the first period for the home team to grab a 1-0 lead with 24 seconds left in the frame. Nathan MacKinnon found the back of the net in the third period to put the Avs up 2-0, before Daniel Sedin answered for the Canucks to pull Vancouver within one goal but MacKinnon sealed the victory with an empty-netter. Avs goaltender Semyon Varlamov earned the win, making 31-of-32 saves against the Canucks.
What To Watch
Fountain of Youth
Both Colorado and Vancouver have been getting notable contributions from players age 25 and younger. The Avalanche have had skaters in that age range account for nine of its last 13 goals (Gabriel Landeskog, three; Samuel Girard, one; Mikko Rantanen, one; Nathan MacKinnon, one; Matt Nieto, one; Sheldon Dries, one; Vladislav Kamenev, one). In Vancouver's last two games, eight of the nine tallies have come from players ages 25 and younger (Jake Virtanen, three; Elias Pettersson, two; Brendan Gaunce, one; Markus Granlund, one; Ben Hutton, one).
Filling a Void
Since their NHL debut in the 2000-01 season, now retired Henrik (22 goals, 52 assists) and Daniel Sedin (31 goals, 37 assists) topped Canucks skaters in career points against the Avs. With the Sedin twins no longer playing in the NHL, defenseman Alexander Edler 22 points (four goals, 18 assists) and Loui Eriksson 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) lead the Vancouver roster with points against Colorado.
Players To Watch
Colorado Goaltender Philipp Grubauer
The Rosenheim, Germany, native will get the start in net for Colorado against Vancouver for his fifth appearance on the year. He owns a 3-1-0 record with three straight victories coming into the matchup. The 26-year-old netminder has appeared in three games against Vancouver and has a 2-0-0 record, 1.66 goals-against average and .944 save percentage in those contests.
Vancouver Right Wing Jake Virtanen
The 22-year-old right wing has scored three times in his last two games, including a two-goal effort in a 4-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday. Virtanen now has seven points (five goals, two assists) through 14 games this year. He tallied 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 75 appearances for a career-high during the 2017-18 campaign.
Friday's clash between the Avalanche and Canucks is scheduled for 8 p.m. MT. The game can be watched live locally on Altitude TV or streamed on select devices with the Altitude Now app (in market) or NHL.tv (out of market). The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio FM 92.5 in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.