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GAME DAY PREVIEW- GAME 64: CANUCKS @ COLORADO

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The Canucks hit the road for 3 starting tonight in Colorado, taking on an Avalanche team as they desperately try to keep their playoff dreams alive.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks (26-28-8) vs Anaheim Ducks (24-29-9)

Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, BC

When: 7:00 pm PST

Where to Watch: Sportsnet Pacific

SB Nation Opposition Blog: Mile High Hockey

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Fresh off a shutout that they were on the right side of, for a change, the Canucks head out on a 3 game road trip starting tonight in Denver to take on the Avalanche. The game will mark the Canucks debut of Tanner Pearson, who was acquired Monday at the trade deadline from the Pittsburgh Penguins for Erik Gudbranson.

Sorry, I need a minute.

Life is beautiful.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. While much of the thought post-trade was that Pearson was brought in to be a stable presence alongside Bo Horvat (who has literally played with every possible combo of Canucks players, staff, and assorted members of the media and fan base), it’s interesting to note that he was skating alongside Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson this morning.

The other thing to note was that Adam Gaudette was not on the ice for the morning session, and looks like he’s a no-go for tonight.

So apart from Pearson we’re not likely to see any changes in the lineup from the one we saw Monday, and that means a look at whether or not Luke Schenn can show some consistency in what he brought to the table. He played a solid, calm game and was a great pairing alongside his Utica Comets partner Ashton Sautner. I think while it’s a very small sample size, and it could all go south, this is what the Canucks thought they were getting in Gudbranson. Go figure.

The game plan for taking on the Avalanche is the same as last time: make sure their top 3 forwards don’t get a sniff while not giving out free candy to the rest of the guys. Then, just get as many shots on Semyon Varlamov as they can. The Canucks have averaged 6 goals a game against the Avs in two meetings this season, so at the risk of jinxing them, I say the chances of getting shutout tonight are slim.

It should be Jacob Markstrom again tonight (surprise!) which means we could see Thatcher Demko get the start against Arizona tomorrow night.

Here’s what we will likely see from both squads tonight (via the Province)

PROJECTED LINEUPS

CANUCKS

Forwards

Ryan Spooner — Bo Horvat — Josh Leivo

Tanner Pearson — Elias Pettersson — Brock Boeser

Antoine RousselMarkus GranlundNikolay Goldobin

Loui ErikssonJay BeagleTyler Motte

(Adam Gaudette not on ice in morning skate)

Defence

Ben HuttonTroy Stecher

Ashton SautnerLuke Schenn

Derrick PouliotAlex Biega

Goal

Jacob Markstrom, Thatcher Demko

COLORADO AVALANCHE

Forwards

Mikko RantanenNathan MacKinnonAlexander Kerfoot

Gabriel LandeskogCarl Soderberg — JT Compher

Tyson JostDerick BrassardMatt Calvert

Sven AndrighettoSheldon DriesGabriel Bourque

Defence

Samuel GirardErik Johnson

Ryan GravesTyson Barrie

Patrik NemethNikita Zadorov

Goal

Semyon Varlamov, Philipp Grubauer

INJURIES

Canucks: Alex Edler (concussion, day-to-day, IR), Sven Baertschi (concussion symptoms, IR), Chris Tanev, (ankle, IR), Brandon Sutter (lower body, IR), Jake Virtanen (rib fracture, IR).

Avalanche: Vladislav Kamenev (shoulder, IR), Matt Nieto (lower body, day-to-day), Ian Cole (upper body, IR), Colin Wilson (undisclosed, IR).

SPECIAL TEAMS

Power play

Canucks: 26th (15.6%)

Avalanche: 8th (22.2%)

Penalty kill

Canucks: 18th (80.3%)

Avalanche: 27th (77.7%)

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN: IRON REAGAN. Patronizer.