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Canucks-Avalanche Preview @NHL
Canucks-Avalanche Preview

GAME: Vancouver Canucks (15-7-2) at Colorado Avalanche (12-8-3).

TIME: Sunday, 9 p.m. EST.

Colorado Avalanche fans will get another chance to vent their anger toward Todd Bertuzzi when the first-place Vancouver Canucks visit Denver in the front end of a home-and-home series between the division rivals.

This will be Bertuzzi's third game against the Avalanche since he broke the neck of Colorado forward Steve Moore with a hit from behind during a 2004 game in one of the ugliest episodes in NHL history.

Bertuzzi was suspended for the final 13 games of the 2003-04 season and the playoffs. He was reinstated after the lockout wiped out the 2004-05 season.

Hockey fans at the Pepsi Center finally got a chance to voice their displeasure at him Oct. 27 when the Canucks played the first of back-to-back games in Colorado.

The 6-foot-3 forward was relentlessly booed and heckled every time he came onto the ice or got near the puck as the Canucks fell 6-2, and then 4-3 in overtime on Oct. 29.

Bertuzzi, who had an assist in each game, did not speak with reporters after the second game but Vancouver coach Marc Crawford said he played better in the second than the first, when he looked passive.

"He was stronger with the puck and took it to the net a little bit better," Crawford said on Oct. 29. "He and the whole team was better and more assertive."

Bertuzzi needs just two points for 400 with Vancouver.

Colorado snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-0 win Friday over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

David Aebischer stopped 35 shots for his 34th career shutout and rookie Marek Svatos had a goal and two assists for the Avalanche.

Pierre Turgeon had two assists before leaving with an injured groin.

Vancouver suffered just its second loss in seven games, a 2-1 setback to Saturday to the Phoenix Coyotes. Anson Carter scored the lone goal for the Canucks, who are an NHL-best 10-1-0 at home but only 5-6-2 on the road.

Vancouver, which will play three of its next four games at home, went 0-for-6 on the power play.

"I think urgency is something we need to have in our play all the time," Crawford said. "We were waiting for things to happen instead of creating them."

STANDINGS (through Nov. 26): Canucks - 32 points, 1st place, Northwest Division. Avalanche - 27 points, 4th place, 5 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Canucks - Markus Naslund, 14 goals and 28 points; Brendan Morrison, 15 assists; Wade Brookbank, 56 PIM. Avalanche - Svatos, 11 goals; Turgeon, 17 assists and 25 points; Laperriere, 50 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 26): Canucks - Power play: 16.6 percent (27 for 162), 20th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.5 percent (119 for 146), 19th. Avalanche - Power play: 20.1 percent (31 for 154), 8th. Penalty killing: 84.8 percent (112 for 132), tied for 6th.

GOALTENDERS: Canucks - Alex Auld (7-4-1, 0, 2.30); Rob McVicar (no appearances). Avalanche - Aebischer (9-5-0, 1, 3.24); Peter Budaj (3-3-3, 0, 2.69).

SEASON SERIES: Avalanche, 3-1.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 10; Avalanche, 5-3. At Vancouver, British Columbia, the Avalanche scored four goals in the first-period and handed the Canucks their only home loss of the season.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canucks - 5-6-2 on the road; Avalanche - 6-3-3 at home.

Associated Press
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