Avalanche’s Fade to Continue Tuesday in Vancouver

avalanche canucks

Matthew Jordan

Monday, February 19, 2018 4:53 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 4:53 PM UTC

The Colorado Avalanche not too long ago were the hottest team in hockey. That’s definitely not the case now as they make their final visit of the season Tuesday to Vancouver.

Colorado Avalanche at Vancouver CanucksFree NHL Pick: CanucksBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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No NBA on Tuesday’s sports schedule with the league on its All-Star break, so your only late-night betting option among the professional sports in North America on Tuesday is Colorado visiting Vancouver with a 10 p.m. ET puck drop.

It’s the second meeting of the season between these teams – they play again in Denver next Monday and that’s it. On Jan. 30, the Avalanche lost 4-3 in overtime in Vancouver. Sven Baertschi won it 1:01 into the OT, scoring shortside over Jonathan Bernier's glove. Bo Horvat, Michael Del Zotto and Daniel Sedin also scored for Vancouver. Jacob Markstrom stopped 27 shots, and blueliner Christopher Tanev had three assists in the first three-point game of his career in his eighth NHL season. Tanev has no points since. Gabriel Landeskog scored twice for Colorado.

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Playoffs!? Playoffs!?

I can’t imagine there are too many occurrences in NHL history where a team won at least 10 straight games and missed the playoffs (OK, last season’s Philadelphia Flyers won 10 in a row from late November to mid-December and missed out), but that could be the case for Colorado this season.

On Dec. 29, the Avalanche beat the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in overtime and didn’t lose again until Jan. 23 in Montreal, 4-2, a 10-game run. That’s looking more and more like a fluke because Colorado has won just five times since. The schedule did get more road-heavy, and the club is just 11-15-3 away from home. As things stand now, the Avs are on the outside of the playoffs looking in, and I don’t happen to think they do make it – the two teams immediately ahead of them, Calgary and Los Angeles, are both better.

Colorado lost 4-2 at home to a struggling Edmonton club on Sunday, ending the Avalanche’s 10-game home winning streak. There was one bit of good news there as leading scorer Nathan MacKinnon returned after missing eight games with a left shoulder injury suffered in that first meeting with Vancouver. He was second in the league in scoring with 61 points when he was injured. MacKinnon didn’t score in the loss to Edmonton, getting four shots on goal and finishing minus-2 in 22:20. Semyon Varlamov started in net vs. the Oilers with Bernier sidelined due to a concussion. Seems likely to be Varlamov again here; Andrew Hammond has been called up to serve as Varlamov's backup.

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Filthy Sven, filthy. pic.twitter.com/K4Eo56OHC6

— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 18, 2018

Vancouver is one of the worst teams in the West with 52 points and this was always going to be a rebuilding season. The Canucks did upset the visiting Boston Bruins on Saturday, 6-1, to win for just the second time in the past eight games. Loui Eriksson had two goals to end a seven-game point slump and Anders Nilsson stopped 44 shots to pick up his first win since Nov. 30. He had been 0-7-0 in his last 11 appearances, including nine starts. No. 1 Jacob Markstrom had been scheduled to start but was feeling under the weather.

One huge bright spot this season for the Canucks has been the play of rookie Brock Boeser, one of the Calder Trophy favorites. Boeser, the All-Star Game MVP as the only rookie to play in it, is second in the NHL with 49 points behind the Islanders’ Mathew Barzal (62). Seems likely one of those two will win it, although Tampa Bay’s Yanni Gourde is making a push. Gourde is a rookie in name only at age 26. Boeser, the 23rd overall pick in the 2015 draft, is only 20. The Canucks have had just one Calder Trophy winner: Pavel Bure in 1991-92. He became a fair player, eh?

Colorado has won just three times in its past 15 trips to Vancouver. Make it three in 16 with a Canucks lean on Tuesday's NHL pick.

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