Injuries to key players haven't prevented the Colorado Avalanche from continuing to play well.
The surging Avalanche looks for its fifth straight home victory, but first against the Vancouver Canucks this season when the Northwest Division rivals meet on Sunday night.
Colorado (20-13-2) beat the New York Rangers 4-3 in overtime at home on Friday for its sixth win in its last eight games. The Avalanche came through despite having captain Joe Sakic and forward Ryan Smyth sidelined with injuries.
Sakic is expected to miss his 12th straight game because of a groin injury, while Smyth is likely to be held out for a third consecutive contest because of stiffness in his neck. The two have combined for 18 goals and 32 assists this season.
In their absence, Milan Hejduk had two goals and Wojtek Wolski added an assist and scored the game winner Friday for the Avalanche, which improved to 14-3-0 at home.
"You can't replace Sakic and Smyth," said Wolski, who scored his 12th goal and first in six games. "We miss them a lot. "It was time for someone else to pick it up."
Paul Stastny continues to be one of those players. Stastny had two assists, giving him a team-leading 28. He has two assists in the Avalanche's two losses to Vancouver (20-12-14) this season.
Colorado has earned at least one point in its last five contests, but will be in for a major test against the Canucks, who won, 2-1 in a shootout, over Phoenix on Saturday night for their third straight win.
"Any points are huge right now, especially at home and we need to collect these points," said Hejduk, who did all the scoring in Colorado's 3-1 win on April 5 in the Avalanche's most recent victory over Vancouver.
Though Colorado's Peter Budaj has won three of his last four starts, he's 1-2-0 as a starter with a 4.01 goals-against average versus Vancouver in his career. He was in net for Colorado's 4-3 loss to Vancouver on Nov. 3, his only appearance against the Canucks this season.
That loss to Vancouver was the first for the Avalanche at home after starting the season with six straight wins.
The Canucks, who lead the division by two points over Colorado and Minnesota, are 11-6-2 on the road and look for a third straight victory at Colorado after losing three in a row there.
Daniel Sedin scored his team-leading 15th goal in regulation, while Taylor Pyatt and Trevor Linden scored in the shootout for Vancouver on Saturday.
"It's always exciting when you win and not so exciting when you lose, so we'll take this one," said Vancouver's Roberto Luongo, who made 27 saves and won his third straight game.
Luongo, who has a 1.99 GAA, was in goal for both wins over Colorado this season.
Sedin has three goals in his last two contests and has two with two assists versus the Avalanche this season.