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Preview: Canucks at Avalanche

Jacob Markstrom to start for Vancouver; Colorado turns to Calvin Pickard with Semyon Varlamov sidelined

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

CANUCKS (8-11-2) at AVALANCHE (9-10-0)

10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, ALT, NHL.TV

Canucks team scope

Goaltender Jacob Markstrom is expected to start for the Vancouver Canucks after Ryan Miller made 26 saves Friday in a 2-1 loss at the Dallas Stars. Markstrom is 5-3-2 with a 2.82 goals-against average and .897 save percentage in 11 games. The Canucks, who didn't conduct a morning skate Saturday, are 2-3-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season. "It's too much win one, lose one right now," center Henrik Sedin said after the game Friday. "We have to get on a roll to get back to .500." The Canucks are 1-1-0 in the first two games of a three-game road trip. They're 2-1-1 in the past four games and have gone 4-3-1 after losing eight consecutive games in regulation Oct. 23 - Nov. 7. Left wing Jayson Megna scored his first goal of the season Friday filling in for injured Sven Baertschi (foot) on a line with center Bo Horvat and right wing Alexandre Burrows. "Megna played well," coach Willie Desjardins said. "We have some speed. I thought that line would be good and it was good. He's been able to step in and help us." Former Avalanche forward Jack Skille played Friday after missing one game because of an upper-body injury.

Avalanche team scope

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov has an upper-body injury, so Calvin Pickard will start for the Colorado Avalanche. Pickard is 4-1-0 this season with a shutout, 2.07 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in six games. He previously played Nov. 19 and made 41 saves in a 3-2 win against the Minnesota Wild. "I'm definitely ready and prepared for Vancouver," Pickard said. "You're only as good as your last game, and I want to back it up and keep it going." Coach Jared Bednar said he doesn't expect Varlamov to be out long. "Hopefully we'll get him back to practice in the next couple days," he said. Colorado called up Spencer Martin from San Antonio of the American Hockey League to dress as the backup. Right wing Rene Bourque will play after missing practice Friday because of illness. He'll be on a line with left wing Mikko Rantanen and center Nathan MacKinnon. Bourque and Matt Duchene each have a team-leading seven goals. The Avalanche opened a five-game homestand Wednesday with a 6-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, who scored four goals in the third period. Colorado is 4-5-0 at Pepsi Center this season.

Canucks projected lineup

Daniel Sedin -- Henrik Sedin -- Brandon Sutter

Jayson Megna -- Bo Horvat -- Alexandre Burrows

Markus Granlund -- Michael Chaput  -- Loui Eriksson

Jack Skille -- Brendan Gaunce  -- Joseph Labate

Alexander Edler -- Troy Stecher

Ben Hutton -- Erik Gudbranson

Luca Sbisa  -- Nikita Tyamkin

Jacob Markstrom

Ryan Miller

Scratched: Philip Larsen

Injured: Sven Baertschi (foot), Derek Dorsett  (shoulder), Jannick Hansen (rib), Anton Rodin (knee), Christopher Tanev  (lower body)


Avalanche projected lineup

Mikko Rantanen -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Rene Bourque

Mikhail Grigorenko -- Carl Soderberg -- Matt Duchene

Blake Comeau  -- John Mitchell  -- Jarome Iginla

Cody McLeod -- Joe Colborne -- Andreas Martinsen

Fedor Tyutin  -- Erik Johnson

Patrick Wiercioch -- Tyson Barrie

Nikita Zadorov -- Francois Beauchemin

Calvin Pickard

Spencer Martin

Scratched: Eric Gelinas

Injured: Gabriel Landeskog (lower body), Semyon Varlamov (upper body)


Status report

The Canucks assigned defenseman Alex Biega to Utica of the American Hockey League for conditioning. He was scratched for 15 consecutive games after playing Oct. 23 against the Anaheim Ducks. ... Landeskog will miss his fifth game in a row. He didn't skate Saturday after taking part in practice Friday with a non-contact jersey. "He's a little sore today," Bednar said. "I don't know if it's a setback, but we're going to take it day by day and see how he feels." Left wing A.J. Greer was reassigned to San Antonio of the AHL.


Who's hot

Horvat has five points (two goals, three assists) in a three-game point streak. ... MacKinnon has seven points (three goals, four assists) in a four-game point streak ... Rantanen has one goal and four assists in a three-game point streak. 

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