The Canucks struggled against divisional rivals last season and it hurt them in the spring as Edmonton, Colorado, Calgary all made the playoffs.
This season hasn't proved too much better in the early going. The Canucks are 1-5-1 against the Northwest and 1-0-1 in Denver. Plenty of time to turn it around as they'll face Denver five more times after Saturday's game.
"This is the way the schedule is now and that's just how it goes," said John-Michael Liles, whose Avalanche are 4-2-1 in inter-divisional games. "We've got a stretch here where we've got a few so we have to take advtantage of the games we have at home right now."
Colorado is coming off a 3-2 shootout win over the Ducks, their third win in four games.
"We had a good effort the other night against Anaheim and we have to try to keep that going for another 60 tonight." Edler Up
"Alexander begins his second stint with the Canuck tonight in Colorado. The 6'3", 200-pound defender logged one assists in four NHL games earlier in the season.
At 20 years old, there's still plenty of time for the young Swedish rearguard to carve out a lengthy NHL career, but he's not complaining about the head start.
I'm going to try and play a safe game and keep it simple," said Edler, who has four points and six penalty minutes in 13 games with Manitoba. "I just want to play hard."
Edler replaces Patrick Coulombe who was re-assigned to the Moose Friday. Oh Danny Boy Daniel Sedin
, who sits second in team scoring with six goals and 14 assists, won't dress tonight in Denver.
The Twin pulled an abdominal muscle midway through the game in Nashville and didn't return. He skated with the team this morning.
"As the practice went on it started to grab me," he said. "I wasn't ready. I don't want to take a chance now. It felt good at the beginning, but as practice went on it didn't feel good anymore."
"It's turning...and if you get a defeceman who is going to play hard on you too, it's going to be even more frustrating." On This Day 2002:
Trevor Linden scores his 263rd goal in a Canucks uniform surpassing the club record held by Stan Smyl. He beats Manny Fernandez shorthanded in a 2-1 win over Minnesota