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Avalanche-Canucks Preview @NHL
Avalanche-Canucks Preview

GAME: Colorado Avalanche (8-4-2) at Vancouver Canucks (10-4-2).

TIME: Thursday, 10 p.m. EST.

Having lost four straight on the road, the Vancouver Canucks will be happy to have the chance to remain perfect at home when they host the Colorado Avalanche.

Vancouver and Carolina are the only teams yet to lose at home this season. During their 7-0 start at GM Place, the Canucks have outscored opponents 30-16.

Colorado was responsible for starting Vancouver's road losing streak, as it won two straight home games from the Canucks two weeks ago. The Avalanche posted a 6-2 victory on Oct. 27 and came away with a 4-3 overtime win two days later.

During the overtime defeat, Canucks goaltender Dan Clouter sustained a concussion that has kept him out of the lineup since. Cloutier has begun practicing with his teammates and could start Thursday, or Sunday at home against Detroit.

"He could start I suppose," Canucks coach Marc Crawford said. "Right now we've told Alex (Auld) to be ready. With Dan we want to give him the opportunity to recuperate and feel as good as he possibly can."

Auld has started all four games in Cloutier's absence, allowing nine goals while splitting four decisions.

Vancouver was called for three penalties in the final four minutes of a 4-3 loss in Calgary on Monday.

"We took some penalties that we were responsible for and by veteran people and those things we have to correct and correct quickly." Crawford said.

Avalanche center Pierre Turgeon became the 34th player in NHL history to score 500 goals, reaching the milestone in a 5-2 victory over San Jose on Tuesday.

"The last couple games I've been thinking about it and it's nice to get it out of the way," said Turgeon, who has five goals and nine assists in 14 games in his first season with the Avalanche.

"It's a nice milestone to reach."

Colorado, which plays nine of its next 12 games on the road, finished its six-game homestand at 5-0-1 - the franchise's best extended trip since moving to Denver from Quebec in 1995.

Goaltender David Aebischer made 31 saves Tuesday to win his sixth straight game, tying a career high.

"Sometimes it doesn't really matter how you win, just as long as you win," said Aebischer. "I've been playing, I would say, pretty good of late and I can be happy that we score a lot of goals. That helps."

The Avs are averaging 4.3 goals per game this season, third-highest in the league.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 9): Avalanche - 18 points, 2nd place (tied), 4 PB, Northwest Division. Canucks - 22 points, 1st place, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Avalanche - Marek Svatos and Antti Laaksonen, 6 goals; John-Michael Liles, 11 assists and 16 points; Ian Laperriere, 34 PIM. Canucks - Markus Naslund, 10 goals and 18 points; Ed Jovanovski, 11 assists; Wade Brookbank, 34 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 9): Avalanche - Power play: 22.3 percent (21 for 94), 4th (tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 87.6 percent (78 for 89), 3rd (tied). Canucks - Power play: 17.2 percent (20 for 116), 18th. Penalty killing: 80.0 percent (76 for 95), 20th (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Avalanche - Aebischer (7-3-0, 0 SO, 3.11 GAA); Peter Budaj (1-1-2, 2.66). Canucks - Auld (5-2-1, 2.25); Cloutier (5-2-1, 3.54).

SEASON SERIES: Avalanche, 2-1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 29; Avalanche, 4-3 (OT). At Denver, Laperriere scored on a breakaway in overtime as the Avs swept back-to-back home games from the Canucks.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Avalanche - 6-2-2 on the road; Canucks - 7-0-0 at home.

Associated Press
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