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Avalanche seek 2-0 start @NHLdotcom

CANUCKS (0-1-0) at AVALANCHE (1-0-0)

Season series: First meeting of the year; the Canucks took last season's head-to-head 3-1-2. They also have a two-game winning streak at the Pepsi Center, which reverses a long period of Avalanche dominance at home against Vancouver. They have a 10-3-2 advantage dating back to October 27, 2005.

Big Story: The young Avs are coming off a strong performance in their opener, using Joe Sakic's number-retirement ceremony as motivation while they beat the defending Presidents' Trophy winner San Jose Sharks 5-2. Rookie centers Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly recorded their first NHL points while nine Avs tallied assists. "That Joe Sakic ceremony was one of the most amazing things that I have ever seen in my life," Duchene said. "He almost has an aura that kind of rubs off on guys."

Team Scope: 

Canucks: After going 7-0-2 in the preseason, the Canucks stalled in their first regular-season effort versus the rival Flames, allowing three goals in the first 12 minutes of play, falling into a 4-1 rut, then coming back within one as they outshot Calgary 28-8 the rest of the way. It was not enough, though, as Miikka Kiprusoff preserved a 5-3 Flames victory. "You can't spot a team like that a two- or three-goal lead and expect to win," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said.

Avalanche: Thursday was a feel-good night at the Pepsi Center for Avs past and present. Future Hall of Famer Joe Sakic's No. 19 was raised to the Pepsi Center rafters and the future of the team got off to a rousing start. "It was definitely a great night for Joe. But it was pretty exciting watching some of the kids we had out there too," Avs defenseman Adam Foote told the Denver Post, after playing his first game as the team's new captain. 

Who's Hot: Wojtek Wolski scored twice in the Avs' dominant performance over the Sharks, pacing an offense that finished last in the NHL in scoring in 2008-09. Craig Anderson held off a 5-on-3 Sharks advantage midway through the third with a highlight-reel glove save to help preserve the Colorado win. 

Injury Report: Both teams got through their openers unscathed. Canucks prospect Cory Hodgson, re-assigned to his junior club the Brampton Battalion earlier this week, will seek a second medical opinion on a bulging disc in his back incurred during off-ice training early this summer, according to the team.     

Stat Pack: Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson is 0-4-1 with a 3.54 GAA versus the Canucks in his career, and allowed five goals in his lone meeting against them last year. Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo was 2-1-1 with a 1.71 GAA against Colorado in 2008-09.

Puck Drop: Was Thursday the night Sakic passed the torch to Duchene? Only time will tell, but the first impression, at least, was good.

-- Matt Mankiewich,


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