Returning from a nine-day break that included the NHL All-Star Game and its bye week, the Colorado Avalanche (22-20-8) is back at the Pepsi Center on Saturday to face off against the Vancouver Canucks (23-22-6).
It is the second of three matchups between the two teams this season. Colorado holds a 58-41-18 all-time record against Vancouver (since 1995-96), which includes a 29-19-9 mark at home. The final clash against the Canucks this year will again take place at Pepsi Center on Feb. 27.
Following the contest, the Avs will remain in Denver to battle the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday to close out a season-long, five-game homestand.
Last Time Out
The Avalanche fell 5-2 to the Minnesota Wild at home on Jan. 23 in its last contest. Carl Soderberg scored his career-high 17th goal of the season in the first period, and Tyson Barrie converted on one of only two power-play opportunities in the outing for the Avs. Colorado killed 4-of-6 penalties, as goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 23 saves in net.
The Canucks dropped their most recent outing by a 5-2 score to the Carolina Hurricanes at Rogers Arena on Jan. 23. All of the game's goals came in the middle frame, as Josh Leivo and Sven Baertschi found the back of the net for Vancouver in the first six minutes of the period before Carolina tallied five unanswered. The Canucks held the Hurricanes scoreless on 5-of-6 power plays, and Vancouver netminder Jacob Markstrom turned away 29-of-34 shots.
Last Time They Met
The Avalanche fell 7-6 in overtime on Nov. 2, as the club concluded a back-to-back set in Western Canada at the Canucks. Nathan MacKinnon (two goals, one assist) and Mikko Rantanen (three assists) registered three-point performances, while Alexander Kerfoot (one goal, one assist) and Colin Wilson (two assists) both put up two points each. Sheldon Dries, Ian Cole and Nikita Zadorov also lit the lamp for the Avs that night, and the team went 1-for-2 on the power play. The Canucks received two-goal nights from Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson, who finished with two goals and three assists, and Derrick Pouliot ended the game with a man-advantage marker 4:38 into the extra period. Grubauer made 30 saves between the pipes for Colorado.
What To Watch
Through 50 games played this season, Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog has scored a career-high 29 goals, ranking tied for seventh in the league. He was one of three representatives from Colorado at the 2019 NHL All-Star Weekend and continued his scoring ways in San Jose. He tied for second among all players at the winter showcase with seven points (four goals and three assists) in two games and registered three goals in the Central Division's semifinal win against the Pacific, becoming only the second player to record a hat trick in the league's 3-on-3 format. As a team this season, the Avalanche ranks eighth in total goals scored, having registered 169 tallies so far in 2018-19.
Colorado has lit the lamp 47 times on the power play this season, second only to the Tampa Bay Lightning (50). The club's 25.1-percent success rate with the man advantage ranks fifth in the NHL and the team has scored nine power-play goals through 10 matchups so far in the 2019 calendar year. In the Avs' past four games, they have scored four man-advantage tallies on 15 opportunities (26.7 percent).
Players To Watch
Colorado: Defenseman Tyson Barrie
After netting his sixth marker of the season, Barrie is now one tally away from matching John-Michael Liles' second-place standing for goals scored by a defenseman in franchise history (68); Sandis Ozolinsh holds the all-time mark with 72 tallies. Barrie is fourth on the team in points (39) and is sixth among all NHL blueliners in both assists (33) and power-play points (18-tied). The Victoria, British Columbia, native has one goal and six assists in his last five contests.
Vancouver: Center Elias Pettersson
Pettersson, 20, leads the Canucks and paces all NHL rookies with 45 points (23 goals, 22 assists) in 40 games. The forward has been named the league's Rookie of the Month twice this season, most recently in December after putting up 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) and four game-winning markers. He registered two goals and three assist in the Nov. 2 outing versus the Avalanche, becoming the youngest Vancouver player to record five points in an outing.
After missing two games before the Avs' break while recovering from a concussion, Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson was a full participant in the team's practice on Friday and is expected to return to the lineup for Saturday's contest.
Saturday's matchup between the Avalanche and Canucks is slated for 8 p.m. MT. The game can be watched live locally on Altitude 2 or on select devices with the AltitudeNOW app (in market) or as an NHL.tv free game (out of market). The contest will be televised nationally in Canada on Hockey Night in Canada (check local listings for more details). The radio broadcast can be heard on AM 950 in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.