Looking to erase the taste of a five-goal third period in Calgary, the Colorado Avalanche travel to Vancouver to take on the Canucks Friday night.
The Colorado Avalanche have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season and third-period leads don’t seem safe these days.
Thursday night in Calgary, the Avalanche and Flames fought to a 0-0 tally in the first period. The teams would blow up for 11 goals over the next 40 minutes, first with the Avalanche taking a 4-1 lead, then the Flames storming back to go up 6-4. A Gabriel Landeskog goal brought Colorado back within one but the damage had been done.
Jared Bednar and his crew are finding the road much tougher as a frontrunner they don’t come into many contests as underdogs these days. While Colorado has performed well and still sits within striking distance of the Division lead (Predators) and President’s trophy consideration there are questions about depth both in the forward ranks and at the blue line.
The 412 shots faced by Philipp Grubauer and Semyon Varlamov are good for third most in the league. The Avs have relied far too much on stellar play from the oft-injured Varly for our comfort. Samuel Girard and Tyson Barrie provide offensive punch from the blue line but there’s still a deficiency for the Avs back end.
Offensively, too much production comes from the top line. It’s magnificent to observe but it’s one injury from disaster. Thursday night saw some good news with goals from Carl Soderberg and Colin Wilson and season-first goals from Vladislav Kamenev and callup Sheldon Dries.
Bednar will need to coax that kind of production out of second-, third- and fourth-line players if the Avalanche are going to maintain their standing deep into the season.
Here’s everything you need to know about Friday night’s game:
Vancouver Canucks (8-6-0) vs. Colorado Avalanche (7-4-2)
Rogers Arena – Vancouver, BC
TV: Altitude, SportsNet Pacific, NHL Network
Radio: Altitude 92.5, SN 1040
Streaming: Altitude Now (Subscription)
Favorite: Canucks +100
Sven Andrighetto – out
J.T. Compher – out
Tyson Jost – out
Conor Timmins – out
Troy Stecher – out
Chris Tanev – out
Brandon Sutter – out
Anders Nilsson – out
Alexander Edler – out
Sven Baertschi – out
Jay Beagle – out
Look for the Avalanche to rebound and split the mini-roadie. While the Canucks have surprised early, Colorado needs the win to keep pace in the Division and the Conference.