Colorado Avalanche Must Start Strong in Vancouver

VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 2: Anton Rodin /

The Colorado Avalanche start a three-game road trip in Vancouver as they attempt to solidify their playoff chances.

The Colorado Avalanche return to action after the All Star break with a three-game roadie that takes them through Canada. Their first stop is Vancouver.

The Avalanche are coming off a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues, their second loss in a row. The little two-game losing skid was preceded by an impressive 10-game winning streak, good enough for second in franchise history.

The Vancouver Canucks are coming off a 4-0 shutout by the Buffalo Sabres — yikes. The Canucks are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. They’re second to last in the Western Conference and #28 in the 31-team NHL. Colorado is #12 and precariously holding on to a wild card berth.

Historically, the Avalanche have played well against the Cancucks, going 64-43-9-7(ties) Last season, though, Vancouver swept the series.

How to Enjoy the Game

Game time: January 30, 8 pm MT
TV Networks: Altitude (Avs feed), SNP (Canucks feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (AM 950)

Health Alert

More from Mile High Sticking

I attended an Avalanche practice yesterday. The Colorado Avalanche are a relatively healthy team again. Tyson Barrie (hand), J.T. Compher (flu), Colin Wilson (death flu),  and Semyon Varlamov (groin) all participated in a full practice. Sven Andrighetto (leg) and Mark Barberio (unknown lower body injury) didn’t even go on the three-game road trip.

Compher looks good to go, as does Wilson — both were on a line with Alexander Kerfoot, which means Nail Yakupov may be scratched against the Canucks. Barrie may well play tonight and be paired again with his old partner, Patrik Nemeth.

Semyon Varlamov might also get a start during this road trip, though Jonathan Bernier has been tapped as tonight’s starter. At the time of writing, there was no work on whether Varlamov or Andrew Hammond would be his backup.

British Columbia Connection

Two Avs players are from British Columbia. Rookie Alexander Kerfoot is from Vancouver itself. I don’t know if he’ll have quite as many people at the game as Quebecois Samuel Girard did in Montreal (around 200), but this is the Harvard grad’s first game in his hometown since he left for college four-and-a-half years ago. Surely his parents will be there. However, one younger brother is also playing at Harvard while the other is in the United States High School system for hockey.

Kerfoot talking about playing in Vancouver:

Defenseman Tyson Barrie is also from British Columbia, though Victoria, not Vancouver. He’s played in his home province before, but I’m sure he will still have some family and friends in attendance.

Players to Watch

When it comes to the Colorado Avalanche, the player to watch these days is always Nathan MacKinnon. He recorded a goal and an assist during the All Star weekend. We’ll be looking for him to keep that up in tonight’s game.

For the Canucks, another All Star distinguished himself. Brock Boeser won All Star MVP after first winning the shooting accuracy competition and then earning two goals and an assist to help Team Pacific win the game.

He also won best flow for obvious reasons:

colorado avalanche
TAMPA, FL – JANUARY 28: Brock Boeser /

Of course, Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog will always be the man to beat in that category.

Next: Jost Feeling Confident in his Game

Tonight marks the first of three meetings for the Colorado Avalanche and Vancouver Canucks. They’ll meet again in Vancouver on February 20 and for a final time in Colorado on February 26.