Avalanche-Canucks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 28, 2013
Cory Schneider and the Vancouver Canucks continued their dominance of the last-place Colorado Avalanche earlier this week. Doing it again will send the Avalanche to their longest road losing streak in 23 years. Schneider is scheduled to be back in net as the Canucks try to beat the Avalanche for a 10th straight meeting Thursday night at Rogers Arena. Schneider had 26 saves in Vancouver's 3-2 win at Colorado on Sunday. He followed that up two days later with 17 stops before making three more in the shootout of a 1-0 victory over Columbus, extending the Canucks' winning streak to five games after a 3-6-2 stretch. "If we play like that we're going to win the majority of our games," Schneider said. "It all goes back to playing as a group. It's not just one guy, it's everyone chipping in, working hard and making things readable and easier for me to react to. It's been a great turnaround for our group, just to tighten things up and to play smart hockey." That's certainly been the case against the Avalanche. The Canucks (18-9-6), who are tied atop the Northwest Division with idle Minnesota, are 17-0-2 in their last 19 games against Colorado (11-17-4), including nine in a row while outscoring them 29-9. That includes a 3-0 win at home Jan. 30. While Roberto Luongo was in net for the bulk of that tremendous success, Schneider has done his part by going 5-0-1 with a 1.35 goals-against average and two shutouts in seven career meetings - six starts. He made 43 saves in a 1-0 win in his most recent home game versus the Avs on March 28, 2012. Henrik Sedin has 21 points over the last 19 meetings with Colorado, but none in the past three at home. Sedin enters this matchup with just one point in his past four games, an assist on Jason Garrison's goal Sunday. The Avalanche have the fewest points in the conference, and there have been few signs of emerging from the basement considering they're 2-11-3 on the road. Colorado's losing streak as the visitor is at 10 games, and another defeat to Vancouver would give it the franchise's longest such slide since a team-record 18-game skid as the Quebec Nordiques from Jan. 18-April 1, 1990. Colorado got closer to that dubious distinction Wednesday, falling 4-3 at Calgary while failing to capitalize on a team that was in the process of trading captain Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh. "It should have worked in our favor and it didn't," center Matt Duchene told the league's official website. "They were ready to play. Distractions can hurt a hockey team. Give them a lot of credit - they didn't let it affect them." Gabriel Landeskog, the reigning Calder Trophy winner, continues to be a rare bright spot for Colorado. The left wing has five goals and an assist over the past six games after netting his seventh tally of the season Wednesday. He hasn't been nearly that effective in seven career meetings with the Canucks, scoring once on 29 shots on goal with a minus-7 rating. Semyon Varlamov can sympathize with Landeskog's struggles. He's lost all seven career meetings with Vancouver, with four coming on the road as he's posted a 3.13 GAA. Varlamov has dropped all 12 of his road games on the season behind a 3.79 GAA, and perhaps with that in mind - and the second end of a back-to-back - Colorado may go with Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Giguere, however, hasn't had much better luck. He's 0-4-1 with a 3.71 GAA in his last seven starts against the Canucks.
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