Avalanche-Canucks Preview

Cory Schneider and the Vancouver Canucks continued their

dominance of the last-place Colorado Avalanche earlier this

week.

Doing it again will send the Avalanche to their longest road

losing streak in 23 years.

Schneider is scheduled to be back in net as the Canucks try to

beat the Avalanche for a 10th straight meeting Thursday night at

Rogers Arena.

Schneider had 26 saves in Vancouver’s 3-2 win at Colorado on

Sunday. He followed that up two days later with 17 stops before

making three more in the shootout of a 1-0 victory over Columbus,

extending the Canucks’ winning streak to five games after a 3-6-2

stretch.

“If we play like that we’re going to win the majority of our

games,” Schneider said. “It all goes back to playing as a group.

It’s not just one guy, it’s everyone chipping in, working hard and

making things readable and easier for me to react to. It’s been a

great turnaround for our group, just to tighten things up and to

play smart hockey.”

That’s certainly been the case against the Avalanche. The

Canucks (18-9-6), who are tied atop the Northwest Division with

idle Minnesota, are 17-0-2 in their last 19 games against Colorado

(11-17-4), including nine in a row while outscoring them 29-9. That

includes a 3-0 win at home Jan. 30.

While Roberto Luongo was in net for the bulk of that tremendous

success, Schneider has done his part by going 5-0-1 with a 1.35

goals-against average and two shutouts in seven career meetings –

six starts.

He made 43 saves in a 1-0 win in his most recent home game

versus the Avs on March 28, 2012.

Henrik Sedin has 21 points over the last 19 meetings with

Colorado, but none in the past three at home. Sedin enters this

matchup with just one point in his past four games, an assist on

Jason Garrison’s goal Sunday.

The Avalanche have the fewest points in the conference, and

there have been few signs of emerging from the basement considering

they’re 2-11-3 on the road. Colorado’s losing streak as the visitor

is at 10 games, and another defeat to Vancouver would give it the

franchise’s longest such slide since a team-record 18-game skid as

the Quebec Nordiques from Jan. 18-April 1, 1990.

Colorado got closer to that dubious distinction Wednesday,

falling 4-3 at Calgary while failing to capitalize on a team that

was in the process of trading captain Jarome Iginla to

Pittsburgh.

“It should have worked in our favor and it didn’t,” center Matt

Duchene told the league’s official website. “They were ready to

play. Distractions can hurt a hockey team. Give them a lot of

credit – they didn’t let it affect them.”

Gabriel Landeskog, the reigning Calder Trophy winner, continues

to be a rare bright spot for Colorado. The left wing has five goals

and an assist over the past six games after netting his seventh

tally of the season Wednesday.

He hasn’t been nearly that effective in seven career meetings

with the Canucks, scoring once on 29 shots on goal with a minus-7

rating.

Semyon Varlamov can sympathize with Landeskog’s struggles. He’s

lost all seven career meetings with Vancouver, with four coming on

the road as he’s posted a 3.13 GAA.

Varlamov has dropped all 12 of his road games on the season

behind a 3.79 GAA, and perhaps with that in mind – and the second

end of a back-to-back – Colorado may go with Jean-Sebastien

Giguere.

Giguere, however, hasn’t had much better luck. He’s 0-4-1 with a

3.71 GAA in his last seven starts against the Canucks.