April 11 2009 11:39AM
With one game remaining in the regular season, a playoff spot locked up, and the Vancouver Canucks opponent being the lowly Colorado Avalanche, you could be forgiven for assuming that this is a meaningless game tonight. Far from it.
A win tonight would clinch the division for the Canucks, as yesterday the Calgary Flames were defeated 5-1 by the Edmonton Oilers. It would givethe Canucks 100 points on the season; their second finish at 100 points or better since the lockout. And the only thing standing in their way is the Colorado Avalanche.
One problem: when the Colorado Avalanche have stood in their way, Vancouver has not generally done very well at all. Some fun numbers:
- Colorado has won 10 of their last 14 games against Vancouver.
- Colorado has won 7 of their last 10 home games against Vancouver.
This season the Canucks are 2-1-2 against the Avalanche (the Avalance are 3-2-0). Here are the leading scorers from each side in the season series:
Pavol Demitra: 2G – 3A – 5PTS Daniel Sedin: 2G – 1A – 3PTS Alex Burrows: 1G – 2A – 3PTS Ryan Kesler: 0G – 3A – 3PTS
Milan Hejduk: 2G – 4A – 6PTS Paul Stastny: 0G – 4A – 4PTS T.J. Galiardi: 3G – 0A – 3PTS Darcy Tucker: 1G – 2A – 3PTS
T.J Galiardi is a 20-year old rookie with 3 career goals in the nine games he’s played this season. He’s never scored against any NHL team other than Vancouver. Tucker has 20% of his points this season against the Canucks.
I think the Canucks will do it. They’re a better team than Colorado, and the desire to win the Northwest Division should seal the deal.
Canucks 4 (Demitra (2), Burrows, H. Sedin) – Avalanche 3 (Galiardi, Hejduk, Laperriere).
I’d actually predict a 4-2 game, but since this will be Ian Laperriere’s 1000th game, let’s give him credit for a goal.