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Avs continue homestand vs. Canucks

by Davis Harper

CANUCKS (10-9-1) at AVALANCHE (9-11-1)


Last 10: Vancouver 6-4-1; Colorado 2-7-1

Season Series: This is the first of six meetings between the Northwest Division rivals. Vancouver has dominated the series since 2009, getting at least a point in the past 11 meetings (9-0-2).

Big story: The Canucks begin a three-game road swing at the Pepsi Center, where Colorado is just 3-7-0 with only 18 goals scored. Vancouver - typically an offensive juggernaut - has endured some recent offensive woes of its own, scoring just three goals in the past two games.

Team Scope:

Starter Roberto Luongo is out with an undisclosed upper-body injury, but Cory Schneider performed well in Sunday's 2-1 overtime win against Ottawa. With 28 saves - including two on breakaways and another from point-blank range in the extra period -- Schneider won for the first time since Oct. 22.

"We needed one of our goaltenders to come in and steal us a game where it wasn't pretty and that's what Schneids did tonight," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "To win in this League and in a consistent fashion you need great goaltending. ... I thought Schneids was our best player on the ice."

Despite encouraging shot totals, Colorado just can't find the back of the net on its home ice. In Sunday's 4-1 loss to San Jose, the Avs outshot the Sharks 37-18 but had just one goal to show for their efforts. As they go into the third game of a season-long eight-game homestand, the Avs must act soon to remedy their home-ice woes. Coach Joe Sacco said one solution would be cleaning up mental mistakes. Opponents have enjoyed 15 man advantages in their past five games - San Jose had six.

"We take some unnecessary penalties. It takes away the momentum from you," Sacco said. "You're taking away your best players' opportunities on the ice."

Who's Hot: Colorado's Matt Duchene has seven goals and three assists in his past nine outings, including the lone goal against San Jose. The third-year center has six goals in 12 career games against Vancouver.

Injury Report:
Colorado wingers Mark Olver (head) and Peter Mueller (concussion) have been on injured reserve since early October. … Luongo is expected to miss Wednesday's game. Keith Ballard (back), Andrew Ebbett (foot fracture), Steve Pinizzotto (shoulder), Nolan Baumgartner (broken foot), Byron Bitz (groin) and Mason Raymond (fractured vertebrae) are all on IR.

Stat Pack:
Luongo has out for two games, but said he hopes to be healthy in time for Colorado. The Avs would rather take their chances with Schneider. Luongo is 6-0-2 with a 2.58 GAA against the Avs over their past eight meetings.

Puck Drop: "Too many penalties. We can't afford them against a good team like that. We get some guys who play a lot in those situations get tired. That whole time you're killing a penalty, you're not trying to score goals. It's just not a good situation, especially against a team that we know has such a good power play. We talked about that before the game, tried to stay away from the box." - Avalanche goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere on his team's occasional lack of focus.
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