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Canucks game day: Can an Arshdeep Bains debut spark a bounce back against the Avalanche?

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Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
1 month ago
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The Vancouver Canucks (37-14-2) will try to put Monday’s meltdown in Minnesota behind them when they take on the Colorado Avalanche (34-18-4) in Denver tonight. In the process, the Canucks will try to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season.
The Canucks let a 5-2 late second period lead get away and surrendered seven third period goals in their 10-7 loss to the Wild. It was the first time the Canucks allowed double-digits since a 10-1 loss to Montreal in February 1990.
In the loss, JT Miller had his first hat trick of the season and also picked up an assist matching his season-high for points in a game established on opening night against Edmonton. Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, Ian Cole and Nikita Zadorov also scored for Vancouver while Pius Suter had three assists. The Canucks have goals from four defencemen in the last two outings.
After watching as the back-up on Monday, Thatcher Demko is expected to get the call in goal tonight. Demko allowed four goals on 28 shots in his last start on Saturday against Winnipeg. He is 18-3-1 in his last 22 starts.
Looking for a spark, all indications are the Canucks will give Surrey, BC native Arshdeep Bains the opportunity to make his NHL debut. Bains leads the Canucks AHL farm team in Abbotsford with 39 points and earlier this month was named MVP at the American Hockey League All Star weekend. The Bains story takes on added significance given his heritage and resonates heavily with Metro Vancouver’s South Asian community.
It’s unclear where Bains will slot into the Canucks line-up. He could replace any of the fourth liners (Phil Di Giuseppe, Nils Aman or Sam Lafferty). Or it’s possible he could also take the place of Ilya Mikheyev who has now gone 25 games without a goal and has just one in his last 29 games.
The Canucks allowed a season-high four power play goals against on six opportunities on Monday and have now given up six goals while short-handed in their past two games. Three of the Wild’s four power play goals came with a two-man advantage. In eight games since the All Star break, the Canucks have been short-handed a league-high 30 times (9 PPGA).
The Canucks have three wins in their last seven games (3-3-1) and five in their last 10 (5-3-2). Seven of the last 10 opponents have taken at least a point off the Canucks. The consecutive losses to the Jets and Wild mark the first time the team has dropped back to back games in regulation since the middle of November.
The Avalanche are coming off a 4-3 win over Arizona on Sunday. Devon Toews scored his 10th goal of the season midway through the third period to snap a 3-3 tie. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist while former Vancouver Giant Bowen Byram had a couple of helpers. It was just Colorado’s second win in seven games since the All Star break (2-4-1).
The Avs have the best home ice record in the NHL at 21-5. They’ve won five straight and 12 of their last 13 at Ball Arena.
MacKinnon leads the Avs and is second in the NHL with 91 points in 56 games. He is tied for fifth in the NHL with 33 goals and tied for second in assists with 58. The Avs captain is also second in the league with 259 shots on goal. Mikko Rantanen has 29+41=70 while Cale Makar has 13+47=60. Rantanen and MacKinnon lead all NHL forwards in average ice time per game.
On Sunday, MacKinnon extended his home point streak to 26 game passing Bobby Orr (25, 1974-75) for the second-longest run to begin a season in NHL history. Only Wayne Gretzky (40 games in 1988-89) had a longer stretch. MacKinnon leads the NHL with 55 points on home ice this season.
Tonight is a match-up between the first and third highest scoring teams in the league. The Canucks have scored 212 goals while the Avalanche has scored 207. Both teams generate much of their offence from the back end. The Avs have the highest scoring defence in the NHL with 48 goals and 170 points while the Canucks are second with 158 points after collecting seven points from defencemen yesterday.
Quinn Hughes leads all NHL d-men with 68 points while Cale Makar is second with 60. For their remarkable careers, they are separated by just three points – Hughes has 309 in 340 games, while Makar has 306 in 289 games.  Makar has gone five games without a point – the longest drought of his NHL career.
There are similarities in goal, as well, where Alexandar Georgiev has been the busiest netminder in the league this season, starting 45 games and appearing in 46. His 2694 minutes of ice time also leads all goaltenders ahead of Thatcher Demko in second. Demko leads all NHL goalies with 30 wins while Georgiev has 29.  
The Avs beat the Canucks 5-2 in Denver on November 22nd. The teams will meet for the third time – and only time in Vancouver – on March 13th. Colorado is 13-3-1 against Pacific Division opponents this season.
Tonight’s game features six of the top 16 power play point producers in the NHL: MacKinnon 34, Rantanen 31, Miller 30, Makar 27, Hughes and Pettersson 26 apiece.
After tonight, the Canucks will wrap up their three game road trip on Thursday in Seattle.
Tonight’s referees: Brandon Schrader & Kyle Rehman

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