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Preview: Avalanche at Canucks

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Colorado Avalanche attempt to keep alive their chances for their first division title since 2002-03 as they continue their season-ending four-game road trip against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. Colorado is two points behind St. Louis for the top spot in the Central and two ahead of third-place Chicago. The Avalanche extended their point streak to eight games (7-0-1) on Tuesday as defenseman Erik Johnson notched a goal and an assist in a 4-1 triumph over Edmonton in the opener of their trek.

Vancouver officially was eliminated from playoff contention Monday as it suffered a 3-0 loss to Anaheim. The defeat was the fourth in five games for the Canucks, who fell to 1-3-0 on their five-game homestand. Colorado and Vancouver split their first two meetings, with the home team winning each contest.

TV: 10 p.m. ET, Altitude (Colorado), RSN Pacific (Vancouver)

ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (51-21-7): While leading scorer Matt Duchene remains sidelined with a knee injury, PA Parenteau is expected to return from one of his own on Thursday. Parenteau has been limited to 53 games this season due to injuries. Semyon Varlamov leads the NHL with 40 wins and is one away from breaking coach Patrick Roy's single-season franchise record.

ABOUT THE CANUCKS (35-33-11): One day after firing general manager and team president Mike Gillis, Vancouver is calling upon one of its own to help turn around the franchise. Trevor Linden, who was drafted second overall in 1988 and played 16 of his 19 NHL seasons with the Canucks, was named president of hockey operations on Wednesday. "I love this city. It is my home and the Canucks have always been part of my family," Linden said. "I'm passionate about the Canucks and I want to win - just like our fans."

OVERTIME

1. Tuesday's victory was Colorado's franchise-record 25th on the road this season.

2. Vancouver G Eddie Lack has made 19 consecutive starts, tying Corey Hirsch's franchise rookie record.

3. Johnson is one away from becoming the 11th member of the Avalanche - and third defenseman - to reach double digits in goals.

PREDICTION: Avalanche 4, Canucks 2

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/140410/preview-avalanche-at-canucks