John Tortorella might not be entirely pleased with his team's performance of late but even he can't complain about their results. On Friday, despite squandering a two-goal third period lead to the Coyotes, the Canucks still managed to find a way to extend their win streak to three games by squeaking past Phoenix by a 3-2 score in overtime and getting themselves one step closer towards the playoff picture. They'll look to gain some more ground tonight in the tough Conference standings when they take on an Avalanche team that they could potentially be battling against for a playoff position come April.
The Avalanche are closing out a three-game Western Canada road swing tonight – a trip that began with an embarrassing 8-2 loss in Edmonton on Thursday before they rebounded for a 3-2 win on Friday in Calgary. The Avs, with new head coach Patrick Roy, jumped out to a sizzling 12-1-0 start this season and are looking like they're on yet another roll as they come into tonight's tilt having won six of their last eight games. This game will not only be the first chance for Canucks fans to see Roy's return to the NHL as bench boss for the Avs but also 2013 first overall pick Nathan MacKinnon, who is making a strong early case for rookie of the year honours.
Puck drop at 5 pm PT - Live on Sportsnet Pacific, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
Push the offence. The Avs may be one of the top scoring teams in the league this season but they've been in a funk lately scoring just 12 times over their last six games. If ever there was a time for the Canucks to take it to the Avs offensively, it would be tonight.
Don't sit back. The Canucks got a first-hand look at what could happen if they take the foot off the gas as they did on Friday when they blew a two-goal lead in the third period. Vancouver has mastered the art of opening the scoring lately. Now they have to master the art of not squandering leads.
Get their special teams in order. The Avs have been picking up wins lately in spite of their special teams play. They haven't scored a power play goal in six straight games (0-for-19) and have given up four power play goals in their last two games (4 on 11 times shorthanded). Those numbers need to turn around for them if they want to have any long-term success.
By the Numbers
Win percentage for the Avs when they score first this season (17-0-0).
Years since the Avs' last win in Vancouver – a 4-3 shootout victory on April 6, 2010.
Head coaches in Avalanche history (14 in franchise history), the latest being Patrick Roy who was hired back in May.
Straight games with a power play goal scored by the Canucks. They are 7-for-26 (26.9 percent) during the stretch.
Straight wins to start the season for Avs' goalie J.S. Giguere, a new franchise record.
Straight games without a regulation loss at home for the Canucks against the Avs dating back to Nov. 1, 2009 (9-0-1).