Vancouver (40-23-2) at Colorado (37-22-6)

Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 36° F
  • Game info: 9:00 pm EST Tue Mar 9, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Vancouver Canucks have been involved in some high-scoring games since the Olympic break. That’s probably the kind of contest the Colorado Avalanche want to avoid when the division rivals meet for the first time since November.

The Canucks will try to defeat the Avalanche for the fourth straight meeting and maintain sole possession of first place in the Northwest Division on Tuesday night.

Vancouver (40-23-2) leads Colorado (37-22-6) by two points in the Northwest after rallying from a one-goal deficit entering the third period for a 4-2 win at Nashville on Sunday. The Canucks lead the NHL with nine victories this season when they trail after two periods.

“We were down by a goal going into the third, and again, we found a way to get it done,” coach Alain Vigneault said.

The Canucks have scored 17 goals and conceded 14 in winning three of four since the NHL season resumed as they enter the final two games of their league-record stretch of 14 straight on the road. Ryan Kesler(notes) has a career-best nine-game point streak, Daniel Sedin(notes) has eight assists in a six-game run and Western Conference points leader Henrik Sedin(notes) upped his total to 85 with a goal and an assist Sunday.

The Avalanche know how potent the Canucks can be. Since Craig Anderson(notes) made 35 saves in a 3-0 victory Oct. 3, Vancouver scored 16 goals in three wins over Colorado in November.

Mason Raymond(notes) had six points and Henrik Sedin four goals in those victories. All of that production came without Daniel Sedin, who missed all three November meetings with a broken foot.

“They’re the team we’re fighting with for first in the division,” Colorado left wing T.J. Galiardi(notes) said. “We’ve got to be ready.”

Vancouver used some different combinations in the third period Sunday, with Mikael Samuelsson(notes) joining the Sedins on the top line and scoring the tying goal. Jannik Hansen(notes) scored the go-ahead goal after being inserted onto the third line alongside Raymond and Kyle Wellwood(notes).

“We had to move some pieces around and it seemed to get our brain into the game and our execution was better in the third,” Vigneault said.

The Avalanche are feeling better about themselves, winning 7-3 over St. Louis on Saturday after losing three of four. It was their highest-scoring effort since a 9-5 win over the Blues on Dec. 9, 2007.

Chris Stewart(notes) recorded his first career hat trick before looking ahead to this matchup.

“We’ll get tons of rest and we’ll gear up for the biggest game of the year,” Stewart said.

Anderson made 39 saves in his team-record 20th consecutive start for Colorado. He has a 4.50 goals-against average in the three losses to Vancouver this season.

Avalanche winger Milan Hejduk(notes) returned after missing 17 games with knee and back problems and scored two goals against the Blues. Hejduk has been held without a point in the last three meetings with the Canucks.

“I felt OK,” he said. “Guys helped me big-time, they skate well. The whole team played well.”

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Tuesday, Mar 9