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Avalanche-Canucks Preview

Saturday, 12.02.2006 / 5:00 PM

Associated Press

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Avalanche-Canucks Preview
Colorado Avalanche vs. Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks are one of the worst offensive teams in the NHL. Lately, they've been anemic even by their own standards.

The Canucks (12-13-1) look to get in gear offensively Saturday when they try for their first win this season against the visiting Colorado Avalanche (12-11-2), who have found their scoring touch of late.

Vancouver ranks near the bottom of the league with 2.15 goals per game. During the last four games, however, the Canucks have scored three total goals, going 1-3 over that stretch.

Vancouver, which had won a season-best three in a row before its current four-game slide, is coming off a 2-1 loss to Anaheim on Thursday. Rookie defenseman Alexander Edler scored the Canucks' lone goal, his first in the NHL.

"For some reason we can't find a way to win these kinds of games," right wing Markus Naslund said. "We have to, it's going to be too late pretty soon here. We have to figure out a way to bear down on chances and drive the net more."

Vancouver's offensive woes have put more pressure on goalie Roberto Luongo, who's 12-11-1 with a 2.04 goals-against average in 25 games. Luongo, however, gave up a relatively soft first-period goal Thursday and then was called for a penalty for shooting the puck over the glass in the third. The infraction led to a 5-on-3, during which Anaheim scored the winning goal.

"I thought we played well enough to at least get a point out of this game," coach Alain Vigneault said. "Our guys battled really hard and battled smart. The first goal was a goal I'm sure (Luongo) would like to have back, but we tied it up and then got into penalty trouble."

The Canucks recalled Rick Rypien - a cousin of former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien - and Tyler Bouck from Manitoba after center Josh Green was lost for at least two weeks after breaking his toe during practice Wednesday. Rypien and Bouck could both play against the Avalanche.

This will be the third of five straight games at home for Vancouver, which is 6-6 at GM Place.

The Canucks have been outscored 10-5 in going 0-3 against the Avs this season, not scoring more than two goals in any of those contests. Colorado won the most recent matchup 4-1 on Nov. 25.

The Avalanche thumped the Edmonton Oilers 7-3 on Thursday for their fifth win in seven games. Colorado has averaged four goals in its last five contests and is averaging 3.12 on the season.

"We just came out and played our game, and when you do that the other team is going to make mistakes," said Tyler Arnason, who had two goals and an assist Thursday. "We let them make it and we capitalized."

Marek Svatos also scored twice and Ken Klee had three assists for the Avalanche, while goalie Peter Budaj made his first appearance in four games and stopped 21 shots.

Colorado is wrapping up a three-game road trip.

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 05 '07COL 3 at VAN 1M. Hejduk
Mar 27 '07VAN 3 at COL 0S. Salo
Mar 25 '07COL 5 at VAN 4 - SOB. McLean
Feb 18 '07COL 4 at VAN 5B. Morrison
Dec 02 '06COL 1 at VAN 2T. Pyatt
Nov 25 '06VAN 1 at COL 4P. Stastny
Nov 04 '06VAN 2 at COL 3A. Brunette
Oct 08 '06VAN 2 at COL 3M. Svatos
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