Colorado Avalanche Must Focus on Offense in Vancouver

VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 30: Alexander Edler
VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 30: Alexander Edler /

The Colorado Avalanche begin their three-game road trip with a visit to the Vancouver Canucks.

The Colorado Avalanche play their first game of a three-game road trip across western Canada with a visit to Vancouver.

The Canucks prevailed the last time Colorado was in Vancouver, 4-3 in overtime on January 30. In their last game, captain Gabriel Landeskog scored twice and J.T. Compher also recorded a tally. Vancouver left wing Sven Baertschi scored the game-winning goal one minute into overtime.

That was also the game that saw Nathan MacKinnon get injured, which kept him out for eight games.

Colorado is coming off a 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, which broke their home win streak at 10. Vancouver is coming off a 6-1 win over the Boston Bruins.

How to Enjoy the Game

Game time: February 20, 8:00pm MT
TV Networks: Altitude TV (Avs feed), SNP (Canucks feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (AM 950)

Focus on Offense

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The Vancouver Canucks don’t have a great offense. Their current goal differential is -32, which is “good” for #27 in the NHL. The Avalanche, by comparison, have a +6 goal differential, which puts them middle of the pack, at #15.

Offense is all Colorado has, now. Nathan MacKinnon is back and on the top line with Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. The rookies are heating up, with Alexander Kerfoot, Tyson Jost and J.T. Compher all scoring in recent games.

The third line of Blake Comeau, Corl Soderberg and Matthew Nieto hasn’t been potting in too many — just two in the last five games. And Tyson Barrie has only scored once since returning from a broken hand on January 30.

All of the Avs’ scorers need to step up their game a little bit. Because the games from here on out could turn into shooting matches.

Thin Defensive Corps

The reason the games from here on out might turn into shooting matches is, of course, the Colorado Avalanche lost their best defenseman, Erik Johnson, in the game against the Oilers. Judging from his teammates’ reactions when the trainer helped him up the ice, it wasn’t a pretty injury.

Officially, Johnson is out “indefinitely.” I’m guessing that to mean the rest of the season.

What gets a little lost in that bad news is that fellow defenseman Anton Lindholm also got injured in the last game. And he’s also listed as “out indefinitely.” Lost Boy Mark Barberio has been out with an undisclosed lower body injury apparently suffered in practice. He’s on injured reserve.

Colorado made two call ups from San Antonio, and so now our defensive corps is the following:

That makes Zadorov and Nemeth basically our best shut-down guys right now.

Yes, the Avalanche need to score lots of goals because, unless Semyon Varlamov is hot, they’re going to allow a lot of goals. And Varlamov is going to be getting a workout every night.

Next: Injuries May Alter Avs Trade Deadling

The Colorado Avalanche will face Vancouver one more time, when the Canucks come to Denver on February 26.