The Colorado Avalanche, who will open on the road in the Western Conference quarterfinals, try to build some momentum for the postseason as they head to General Motors Place to take on the Vancouver Canucks.
Colorado has lost eight of its last 14 games and has not posted consecutive victories since a three-game winning streak from March 7-12.
The Avalanche lost 2-0 on Thursday to the Calgary Flames, who clinched the Northwest Division title with the win. Colorado took 23 shots, including nine in the third, but was unable to beat Miikka Kiprusoff. Defenseman Rob Blake had an excellent opportunity from just outside the crease early in the third, but Kiprusoff denied him with a glove save.
“That was a real good save. I tried to shoot to the off side up high and he didn’t even make it look hard,” said Blake, who did not have a point for the fifth straight game. “He just put his glove out and snagged it. He was tremendous tonight.”
“It doesn’t matter who you play against really, everybody’s so evenly matched,” Avalanche captain Joe Sakic said after Thursday’s loss.
Vancouver has lost three in a row and was eliminated from the playoffs Thursday in a 5-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks. Todd Bertuzzi had a goal and two assists for Vancouver, which squandered three leads and allowed three third-period goals despite outshooting San Jose 11-9.
“We had leads the last two nights, but I don’t know why we can’t put any teams away,” Canucks left wing Markus Naslund said. “We were in a must-win situation, and we couldn’t get it done. It’s a very disappointing end to a very disappointing season for us. We gave a good effort, but I don’t know if we gave it our all.”
Defenseman Ed Jovanovski and Brendan Morrison had the other goals for Vancouver, which will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2000. Morrison’s 18 goals are his lowest total since he had 16 in the 2000-01 season. The center will play all 82 games for the sixth straight season.