Avalanche MacKinnon, Canucks Hughes

Canucks Game Day 20: A Test In Denver, Injuries, Hot Huggy

Canucks Game Facts

Tonight: Vancouver Canucks at Colorado Avalanche

Where: Ball Arena, Denver

When: 7 pm pacific

TV/Radio: Sportsnet / AM-650

Key Factors:

Starting goalkeepers: Thatcher Demko for Vancouver, Alexandar Georgiev for Colorado.

Opponent-wise the Canucks have avoided the top teams in either NHL conference for the most part. Their most impressive win came at home on November 4th against the Dallas Stars, 2-0. They also handled the Florida Panthers.

The Canucks lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs in their three other biggest tests of the season thus far.

The schedule gets a bit dicier for the next couple of weeks starting tonight.

Due to injury, Vancouver is without defenceman Carson Soucy and 4th-liner Pius Suter.

Aside from captain Gabriel Landeskog, who’s out for the season, the Avalanche are missing top-six winger Artturi Lehkonen, while D-man Samuel Girard is day-to-day. Regular 2nd goalie Pavel Francouz is on injured reserve.

Who’s Hot? And Not …

Quinn Hughes continues to have a startlingly impressive season. The Canucks captain leads the NHL in scoring with 30 points. He’ll go head-to-head with the 2nd leading blueline scorer in the league Cale Makar who has 27 points. The 2022 Norris Trophy winner as the NHL’s best defenceman has one more assist than Hughes.

Vancouver centre J.T. Miller has an eight game point streak that’s seen him amass 13 points.

Colorado winger Valeri Nichushkin has seven points over his last four games while superstar centre Nathan MacKinnon has 13 points over his last seven.

Special Teams

The Canucks power play went 0-for-3 on Monday against the Sharks and slipped just a wee bit to a still remarkable 31% for the season.

Although improving, the Avalanche got off to a slow start in that department this season and remain at a sub-standard 19.4%. They went 1-for-4 on Monday in Nashville.

As for the penalty kill it’s just the opposite and there’s a lot of daylight between these two teams statistically. The Avalanche are at 86.8% on the PK while the Canucks check in at 76.7%.

Coming In:

Canucks: 13-5-and-1 for 27 points, good for 2nd place in the Pacific Division. Vancouver beat San Jose 3-1 on Monday night.

Avalanche: 11-and-6 for 22 points. in 2nd place in the Central. Colorado lost on the road to the Nashville Predators 4-3 on Monday.

Entries Of Interest:

— The Hugeness Of The Canucks Bo Horvat Trade

— Canucks Improve With Hronek Acquisition (from March)


Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.