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Avalanche-Canucks Preview

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Avalanche-Canucks Preview

GAME: Colorado Avalanche (14-8-3) at Vancouver Canucks (15-8-2).

TIME: Wednesday, 10 p.m. EST.

The Vancouver Canucks haven't been able to figure out the Colorado Avalanche recently.

The Canucks will look to snap a four-game losing streak against their Northwest Division rivals when the teams meet at GM Place.

Vancouver lost 6-2 at Colorado on Sunday for its second straight defeat since a three-game winning streak. The Canucks have been outscored 21-10 in four straight losses to the Avalanche since a 6-4 win on Oct. 22 in the first meeting this season between the teams.

Vancouver's only home loss this season came against Colorado, 5-3 on Nov. 10.

"There is no explanation," Canucks coach Marc Crawford said of his team's struggles against the Avalanche.

Vancouver has lost all three meetings in Colorado, where Avalanche fans have mercilessly booed Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi. Bertuzzi, who has a goal and four assists against Colorado this season, broke Avalanche forward Steve Moore's neck on a cheap shot in a 2004 game in Vancouver. Moore has not returned to hockey since the hit.

Milan Hejduk scored 11 seconds into Sunday's game and Colorado led 4-0 going into the first intermission.

"No explanation for the start. Not at all. I don't have an answer," said Bertuzzi, who ranks second on the team with 23 points. "This is an embarrassing loss."

The Avalanche won their third straight on Tuesday, beating the Edmonton Oilers 3-2. Joe Sakic scored the tiebreaking goal with less than nine minutes left and Ian Laperriere scored twice in the first period.

Colorado, which ranked second in the Western Conference with 95 goals going into Tuesday's games, has outscored its last three opponents 14-4.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 29): Avalanche - 31 points, 2nd place (tied), 1 PB, Northwest Division. Canucks - 32 points, 1st place, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Avalanche - Marek Svatos, 12 goals; Alex Tanguay, 19 assists and 27 points; Laperriere, 50 PIM. Canucks - Markus Naslund, 14 goals, 16 assists and 30 points; Wade Brookbank, 56 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 29): Avalanche - Power play: 19.1 percent (32 for 167), 10th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.5 percent (120 for 142), 5th. Canucks - Power play: 16.7 percent (28 for 167), tied for 19th. Penalty killing: 81.8 percent (126 for 154), 19th.

GOALTENDERS: Avalanche - David Aebischer (11-5-0, 1 SO, 3.09 GAA); Peter Budaj (3-3-3, 2.69). Canucks - Alex Auld (7-5-1, 2.57); Dan Cloutier (8-3-1, 3.17).

SEASON SERIES: Avalanche, 4-1.

LAST MEETING: Sunday; Avalanche, 6-2. At Denver, Sakic scored two goals and Tanguay had three assists.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Avalanche - 7-5-0 on the road; Canucks - 10-1-0 at home.


Associated Press
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