Colorado Avalanche: Insider’s View of the Vancouver Canucks


The Colorado Avalanche are hosting the Vancouver Canucks in the final game of a four-game homestand. As of now, the Avs are trying to keep their hold on a wild card spot for the playoffs.

The Colorado Avalanche can’t afford to blow this game against the Vancouver Canucks. They need to squirrel away at least a few points before heading out on a three-game road trip. Granted, they’ve been playing better on the road than at home this season, but they really need to take all the chances they can get.

Tonight they face a struggling Vancouver Canucks. The fact that the Canucks are struggling should not be a relief for Avalanche fans — Colorado has a tendency to play down to its opposition.

You might remember that the November 4, 2014 game was the first in which the Colorado Avalanche actually got booed off the ice. Unfortunately, that’s become a thing now, and Avs fans even booed them after the Winnipeg Jets game.

Likewise, last season Colorado went 1-2-0 against Vancouver. This is the teams’ first meeting.

To help me analyze what the match up might look like, I asked former Mile High Sticking — and current The Canuck Way — editor Janik Beichler to answer some questions for me.

1. What do you think the Canucks’ strengths are going into the game?

This is already a super tough question. Honestly, there isn’t much. The Canucks are currently 24th in the league and there is a reason for that. If Vancouver wants to win, they’ll probably need Henrik and Daniel Sedin along with an outstanding goalie performance. The Sedins would be the only strength here.

2. What do you think their weaknesses are?

This is an easy one: the defence and everything that has to do with it. Vancouver’s possession numbers aren’t quite as bad as Colorado’s — not even sure if that’s possible — but they are absolutely terrible as well.

3. Bold prediction: Who do you think will have a big night for the Canucks?

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There are nights when the Sedins do everything and have a big night, sometimes it’s the goalie, and sometimes it’s a random player. Total wild card. Oh, did I mention that we see a lot of games where everyone just sucks? Yeah… Anyway, I’ll just predict the goalie — Ryan Miller or Jacob Markstrom, whoever will be in net — and Bo Horvat. When he’s on fire, he’s hard to stop.

4. Who do you think will have an off night for the Canucks?

I predicted Miller or Markstrom to have a big night, so they are out of the conversation here. Could be literally everyone else.

5. Who on the Colorado Avalanche are you most excited to see in action?

Unfortunately, I don’t see that many full Avalanche games anymore, so I haven’t seen Chris Bigras yet. Definitely excited to see how he does at the NHL level. Other than that, Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon are always a treat to watch.

6. Which Avs player do you fear the most vs the Canucks?

Probably everyone who wears a nine on their back. [Editor’s note: obviously that’s Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog!]

7. What do you think will be the outcome of the game?
Now, I basically trash-talked the Canucks this whole time. But guess what, they’ll beat the Avs anyway! How does a 3-1 win for Vancouver sound?

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Well, Janik, obviously here in Avs Nation we don’t like the sound of a 3-1 Vancouver victory. The Canucks are out of playoff contention — Colorado is not. What’s more, I think the Avalanche are going to be all heated up after watching the Denver Broncos win all. Therefore, I predict the boys step up, Semyon Varlamov does his magic, and the Colorado Avalanche win 2-0.

Thanks again, though, to Janik!