After going winless on their recent three-game home stand, capped by a disappointing 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Flames on Saturday, getting a bit of a respite on the road has to be considered a good thing for the slumping Canucks. While tonight's meeting against the Avalanche isn't a divisional affair, it could still prove critical down the road. Colorado sits six points up on the Canucks and currently occupies the final Wild Card playoff spot in the West.
Look for a couple of line-up tweaks tonight for Vancouver, most notably the reuniting of the 'Kid Line' of Baertschi-Horvat-Virtanen and Vrbata moving down to play alongside Sutter and Dorsett. Jacob Markstrom will make his first post-All Star break appearance tonight. Markstrom, who is 4-0-1 in his last five starts, will be looking to extend his personal career-high win streak to four games.
Puck drop at 6 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet Pacific, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2015.16 Season Series
Last 10 games
Last 10 head-to-head
Keys to the Game
Do it for mom. The last person on earth anyone wants to disappoint is mom. With several Canuck mothers joining the team for this two-game road swing, that ought to be more than enough motivation for the boys to be at their best.
Finishing moves. The Avs may lead the league in blocked shots, but they're also a league-leader when it comes to giving up shots against. The chances should be there for the Canucks, now they just have to work on the finish.
Varlamov shakes off the rust. Personal matters plus the All-Star break kept the Avs goalie out of action for a two-week stretch recently and his first game back was hardly impressive. That said when he's been good, he's been very good and the Avs need him to start another strong streak tonight.
Canucks Gameday Road Report, Presented by Toyota
By the Numbers
Save percentage for Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov against the Canucks last season (8 goals allowed on 66 shots).
Career start against the Avalanche for Jacob Markstrom (lost 4-2 on April 10, 2014 in 1st career start as Canuck).
Game active home winless streak for Colorado, one shy of tying a season-high.
Points for Jarome Iginla (3-2-5) last year in the season series to lead all players.
Straight home games the Avalanche have recorded three-or-fewer goals, longest such streak of the season.
100-plus PIM seasons for Avs forward Cody McLeod including this season, first in franchise history to do so.
- Colorado concludes its four-game home stand tonight looking to avoid going winless on it. So far, they've been out-scored 10-6 and out-shot 125-81 while going 0-2-1.
- The Avs have had trouble keeping the puck out of their own net on home ice this season. At home, they're averaging 2.96 goals against per game compared to just 2.56 on the road.
- The Avs opened the scoring in their eventual loss to Winnipeg on Saturday snapping a four-game streak in which they fell behind first. Colorado has not fallen behind first very often this season – just on 23 of 55 occasions. They boast one of the league's best win percentages when trailing first at .304 (7-14-2).
- Forward Mikhail Grigorenko, a former junior scoring star with the Quebec Remparts where he played for his current coach Patrick Roy, will be a name to watch. His modest four goals and 15 points are already a career-high, but what's notable is he recently replaced Jarome Iginla on Colorado's top line with Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene. Grigorenko scored a goal on Saturday following the promotion.
- Much like the Flames, the Avs are a team that boasts a high-scoring blue-line. Twenty-six of their 148 goals have come off a stick of a defenceman, led by Tyson Barrie's eight.
- Avs D Nick Holden's next point will be his 20th of the season. Once he reaches that mark, he will be the fourth Avs' defenceman to reach the 20-point mark. Colorado had just three defencemen reach the 20-point mark a year ago.