The Vancouver Canucks have been playing well at home late in the regular season. They'll try to rely on that home-ice advantage to end a long losing streak against the Colorado Avalanche and draw closer to a playoff berth.
After stopping one slide its last time out, Vancouver will try to snap a five-game skid against Colorado on Tuesday night.
The Canucks (39-30-10) posted a pair of one-goal victories in their first two games versus the Avalanche in 2007-08. Colorado, though, has dominated in five games since, outscoring Vancouver 19-9.
"We played well against them the last few games," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said of Vancouver, 7-1-3 in its last 11 overall at GM Place. "We know it's going to be a very important game."
|The Vancouver Canucks have lost five games in a row to the Avalanche and need a win when they host Colorado tonight to remain in the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
The Canucks' struggles against the Avs this season are just one reason why Vancouver has yet to clinch its sixth playoff berth in seven seasons. Alain Vigneault's club starts play in eighth place in the Western Conference, one point ahead of Nashville and two in front of Edmonton.
Vancouver will face Edmonton on Thursday before finishing up the regular season against Calgary on Saturday.
"There are a lot of teams in this (playoff race)," Vigneault said. "Edmonton is there, Nashville is there, Calgary is there, Colorado is there. Everybody is right in the mix."
The Canucks hope an offensive outburst from their last game will carry over to this one after they scored five unanswered goals - two from 19-year veteran Trevor Linden - in a 6-2 victory over the Flames on Sunday. Vancouver scored just six goals during its four-game losing streak.
|The Avalanche are 6-1-0 with Peter Forsberg in the lineup and are gunning for the Northwest Division crown. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
It was the first multigoal game in more than five years for the 37-year-old Linden, long regarded as one of the best players in Canucks history.
"I thought (Washington's Alex) Ovechkin was out there tonight for us," Vancouver's Alex Burrows told the Canucks' official Web site. "(Trevor) was just flying and playing well, playing with confidence. ... It was two great goals for us and that's why we call him Mr. Clutch."
A healthy scratch for 23 games this season, Linden has failed to notch a point in his last nine against Colorado.
With three games remaining, Vancouver also needs clutch performances from Roberto Luongo. He made 27 saves against the Flames for his first win in five starts, but Luongo has allowed 17 goals during the losing streak to the Avs, starting all five contests.
Playing its second-to-last game of the season, sixth-place Colorado (42-31-7) has 91 points, three more than Vancouver. The Avs, though, had their three-game winning streak halted Sunday with a 3-2 loss to Minnesota when Jose Theodore was beaten by Marian Gaborik 3:10 into overtime.
"We know we're in a good position (to get into the playoffs), but we know we still have to win," Colorado's Joe Sakic said. "We have to play well in Vancouver."
Colorado played without Peter Forsberg, who was scratched with a groin injury and is day-to-day. The oft-injured 2003 MVP made his season debut March 4 at home against Vancouver, and had three assists Wednesday in a 6-3 victory over the Canucks in Denver.
Colorado is 6-1-0 with Forsberg in the lineup. He's got nine assists, but has yet to score a goal.
The Avalanche wrap up the regular season Sunday at home against playoff-bound Minnesota.