Sports

Avs, Canucks clash in Vancouver

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Colorado Avalanche's playoff chances took a big hit on Wednesday night and they'll try to avoid another setback one night later when they visit the Vancouver Canucks.

The Avalanche find themselves 10 points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference with nine games to play following a big 4-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers last night.

Colorado fell behind 3-0 after 20 minutes before Ryan O'Reilly assisted on second-period tallies by Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay before netting a game- tying goal himself 4:54 into the third frame.

However, the Oilers went back in front for good on Derek Roy's goal with 9:18 to play to hand the Avalanche a third loss in a row.

Reto Berra took the loss despite stopping 26-of-27 shots faced in relief of Semyon Varlamov, who yielded three goals on seven shots through the first 9:36 of action.

"It's not the type of start we wanted, but at the same time, yes I am proud of the way the guys played after," Avs coach Patrick Roy said on his club's website. "The second and third period, I thought we dominated the game. We had 44 shots on net, a lot of good chances. Obviously, we did a lot of good things out there."

Roy had planned to start Varlamov on both nights of this back-to-back set as Colorado closes out a five-game road trip. Varlamov is 3-8-1 in 12 games (11 starts) versus the Canucks with a 2.86 goals against average and .902 save percentage.

The Canucks come in sitting second in the Pacific Division, three points ahead of the Calgary Flames. The fourth-place Los Angeles Kings are lurking at four points back of Vancouver.

A pair of goals and an assist by Radim Vrbata led the Canucks to their third straight victory on Tuesday night with a 5-2 decision over the Jets.

Henrik Sedin had a goal and two assists, Chris Higgins scored once and assisted on another and Yannick Weber also scored for the Canucks, who rallied back from a 2-0 deficit to win for the seventh time in nine games.

"Our battle level has been pretty hard," said Canucks coach Willie Desjardins.

Eddie Lack stopped 26 shots versus the Jets and is 0-1-1 lifetime versus the Avs with a 4.96 GAA and .868 save percentage. He has given up 10 goals on 76 shots in this matchup.

The Avalanche won the first of three meetings this season 7-3 at home on Oct. 24 for their third straight victory in this series, but the Canucks responded with a 5-2 win in Denver on Nov. 4.

Vancouver has won nine of the last 10 matchups at home.