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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, March 27th (All times Eastern)

Vancouver Canucks (34-30-10) at Colorado Avalanche (45-21-6), 9 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - Colorado may be ahead of the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference standings, but they are a club that the Avalanche may want to avoid in the playoffs.

The Canucks, though, are no lock to reach the postseason and they will continue their push for a wild card spot on Thursday night versus the Avs.

Vancouver is four points back of Phoenix for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference and has played one more game than the Coyotes, who visit the New Jersey Devils tonight. The Dallas Stars also are one point ahead of the Canucks in the standings and have played two fewer games than Vancouver.

That gives the Canucks an uphill battle in reaching the postseason and the squad has responded with its longest winning streak since late December. That includes last night's 5-2 triumph over the Minnesota Wild.

David Booth scored twice in the win and Eddie Lack made 29 saves as the Canucks have claimed three straight victories for the first time since Dec. 20-29. Another win tonight would give Vancouver its longest string of victories since a season-best seven-game run from Dec. 1-14.

"We're breathing. That's the most important thing and we found a way tonight," said Canucks head coach John Tortorella.

Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler and Zack Kassian all added goals for a Vancouver squad that was without captain Henrik Sedin due to a left knee injury suffered in Sunday's win against the Buffalo Sabres. He is day-to-day and did not travel with the club for its quick two-game road trip that ends tonight.

It is unknown if Lack will get another start tonight or if backup Jacob Markstrom will get the call. Neither has ever faced the Avalanche and Markstrom has made just one appearance in relief since coming over in the trade that sent Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers.

Whoever gets the call will try to extend the Canucks' recent string of success over the Avalanche. Vancouver picked up a 3-1 victory over Colorado at home on Dec. 8 and has won 11 of 12 as well as 19 of the previous 22 encounters.

The Canucks also have won 10 of their last 13 trips to Colorado, though they did have a four-game series road win streak snapped in the most recent meeting there on April 13 of last season.

The Avs are rolling towards a playoff spot as they own a nine-point edge over the fourth-place Wild in the Central Division and are also a mere three points back of the Chicago Blackhawks for second.

Colorado did bring a three-game winless stretch (0-2-1) into Tuesday night's meeting with the Nashville Predators and escaped with a 5-4 shootout victory on the road despite never leading in regulation.

Gabriel Landeskog scored twice in regulation and had the deciding shootout tally, while Cody McLeod and Nick Holden both scored to erase third-period deficits.

"What I like about our group is we were resilient even if we were not playing our best game," said Colorado head coach Patrick Roy.

Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves as Colorado reached 45 wins in a season for the first time since 2001-02. The Avs won a franchise-best 52 victories the previous season en route to a Stanley Cup title.

Varlamov will start tonight and is seeking his first career win versus the Canucks, having gone 0-7-1 with a 2.80 goals against average in previous meetings.

03/27 10:55:52 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
3rd
TOR 81
NYK 69
 
2nd
CLE 34
MEM 25
 
6:00pm Tonight
MIA
BOS
6:00pm Tonight
BRK
DET
6:00pm Tonight
SAC
LAL
6:00pm Tonight
ORL
PHI
6:00pm Tonight
WAS
PHO
7:00pm Tonight
MIN
IND
7:00pm Tonight
OKC
NOP
Final
UVA 76
HARV 27
Final
BGU 68
FERST 82
 
Final
ARMY 72
MAINE 69
 
Final
QUIN 60
ORST 52
Final
CLST 69
USF 65
 
Final
CARK 55
CCAR 72
 
Final
UWGB 66
ARKLR 46
 
Final
RAD 74
CORN 61
 
Final
UNT 62
CREI 58
Final
CAN 67
HC 48
 
Final
USB 67
GHND 52
 
Final
OKST 64
MD 73
Final
WINT 100
REIN 72
 
Final
UGST 68
SMISS 55
Final
NEOM 77
TXPA 72
 
Final
STLU 58
VERM 55
 
Final
UNCA 62
WCU 66
 
Final
EVAN 81
ALAST 63
 
Final
HART 82
FIU 69
 
Final
VALPO 82
GOSHEN 55
 
Final
LIP 69
PEAY 63
 
Final
DEN 46
BRY 48
 
Final
MONT 62
SD 67
 
Final
MTST 65
TENST 47
 
Final
SAMF 64
LAMON 50
 
2nd
SCAR 69
COKR 42
 
2nd
HAMP 40
NARZ 33
 
2nd
SDU 53
SDCHR 37
 
2nd
BC 48
USC 49
 
Half
NICST 32
TROY 25
 
Half
BRAD 27
UCI 22
 
6:00pm Tonight
UGA
SHU
6:30pm Tonight
ALA
APP
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
NDST
 
7:00pm Tonight
WASU
SJST
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ALCOR
 
10:00pm Tonight
SEAT
SACST
 
6:00pm Tonight
DET
COL
6:00pm Tonight
EDM
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
BUF
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
TOR
9:00pm Tonight
WIN
PHI
Final
NOS 14
ATL 30
Final
HOU 25
BAL 13
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
Final
CHI 14
DET 20
Final
TAM 3
GBP 20
Final
PIT 20
KAN 12
Final
MIA 37
MIN 35
Final
NYJ 16
NEP 17
2nd
STL 10
NYG 20
 
2nd
OAK 7
BUF 7
 
2nd
DAL 27
IND 0
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARI
SEA