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At the Rink: Canucks at Avalanche

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- One-goal games have been a bane for the Colorado Avalanche, who have played in eight of them and won once. It's been a major problem in their slow start to the season.

The Avalanche (3-5-5) are in last place in the Central Division and need to get on a roll starting with their game against the Vancouver Canucks (8-4-0) on Tuesday at Pepsi Center.

"We look at the standings and we know where we're at," right wing Jarome Iginla said after the morning skate. "We need to start climbing. We need to start getting some wins back. This is an important game for us, we all know that."

Iginla has two goals in the first 13 games and each came Oct. 24 in the Avalanche's 7-3 win against the Canucks, who were tired after playing the night before. That won't be the case Tuesday.

"We're not that far, but at the same time we don't feel like we're there yet," Iginla said. "We know we can be better and we need to be better. We've gotten great goaltending, so that's given us a chance to be in all those one-goal games, but we've got to find ways to win those one-goal games and produce more. I know that. It's about winning games. Being close or not, we've got to win more."

Canucks goalie Ryan Miller didn't play against the Avalanche last month, but he'll start Tuesday when Vancouver begins a four-game road trip. Miller has won eight of nine decisions this season and limited teams to eight goals in a personal five-game winning streak.

The Canucks also will have defenseman Kevin Bieksa in the lineup following a scary incident Sunday against the Nashville Predators when he was struck in the right eye with a puck. He wore a visor in the morning skate.

"It hit me around my eye, so there was concern," Bieksa said. "I'm pretty sure it touched my eyeball."

The Canucks will also play rookie center Bo Horvat, who will make his NHL debut and skate on the fourth line with left wing Derek Dorsett and right wing Jannik Hansen. Horvat, 19, was Vancouver's first-round pick (No. 9) in the 2013 NHL Draft. He was recalled Sunday from the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League, where he had no points and four penalty minutes in five games.

"I had trouble sleeping [Monday] night," he said. "I kept thinking about the game. I'm excited and nervous."

Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said he told Horvat to enjoy the experience.

"I think it's a big accomplishment that so many players try to do and not very many make it," Desjardins said. "It's a big accomplishment, so just make sure you're having fun."

Here are the projected lineups:


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Radim Vrbata

Chris Higgins - Nick Bonino - Linden Vey

Shawn Matthias - Brad Richardson - Zack Kassian

Derek Dorsett - Bo Horvat - Jannik Hansen

Kevin Bieksa - Ryan Stanton

Dan Hamhuis - Luca Sbisa

Alexander Edler - Christopher Tanev

Ryan Miller

Eddie Lack

Scratched: Alexandre Burrows, Yannick Weber

Injured: Tom Sestito (groin)


Gabriel Landeskog - Matt Duchene - Nathan MacKinnon

Jamie McGinn - Ryan O'Reilly - Jarome Iginla

Alex Tanguay - John Mitchell - Dennis Everberg

Cody McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Maxime Talbot

Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson

Nate Guenin - Tyson Barrie

Brad Stuart - Nick Holden

Semyon Varlamov

Reto Berra

Scratched: Daniel Briere, Zach Redmond

Injured: Patrick Bordeleau (back surgery), Ryan Wilson (shoulder), Jesse Winchester (concussion)

Status report: Stanton will return to the Canucks lineup after missing nine games because of a groin injury ... Burrows will serve the final game of his three-game suspension ... Winchester, who has yet to play for Colorado, took part in the morning drills without a non-contact jersey. There's still no timetable for his return.

Who's hot: The Canucks have killed 14 of 15 penalties in the past five games ... MacKinnon has four goals and one assist in a three-game scoring streak ... The Avalanche have killed 25 consecutive penalties in the past six games.

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