Avalanche seek rare successful trip to Vancouver

The sliding Colorado Avalanche will try to post a rare win place Vancouver Canucks when the Northwest Division rivals meet this afternoon at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

Colorado has lost four straight -- all in regulation -- to match their longest skid of the season. The Avs also dropped four straight during an 0-3-1 skid from Nov. 2-8.

If recent history is any indication, the Avs are unlikely to end their slide today, as Vancouver has compiled an 11-0-2 mark in the last 13 meetings in this series. The Canucks have won the last three encounters and have outscored Colorado by a combined 9-0 margin in two matchups this season.

The Avs have also lost five of their last six home games against Vancouver, which currently holds a 10-point lead over Minnesota atop the Northwest standings.

The Canucks had a three-game winning streak snapped by the visiting Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, but the shootout defeat allowed Vancouver to extend its run of gaining at least a point to five in a row. The Canucks are 3-0-2 during that run and are 7-2-3 over their last 12 trips to the ice.

Vancouver pushed the Red Wings to overtime thanks to Mason Raymond's goal with 4:24 left in regulation, but the Canucks were denied two points after Pavel Datsyuk scored the winner in the shootout to lift Detroit to the 4-3 triumph. The victory pushed the Red Wings' lead over Vancouver for the No. 1 seed in the West to four points.

Raymond, Alexandre Burrows and Ryan Kesler all scored for the Canucks, while Roberto Luongo made 40 saves in the loss.

"We played good in the third and found a way to tie it up, get a point at least," said Luongo.

The shootout loss ended a six-game homestand (3-1-2) for Vancouver and the Canucks will begin a four-game road trip today. Alain Vigneault's club boasts a strong 16-9-1 record as the visiting team this season.

Meanwhile, Colorado began a four-game homestand on a down note on Thursday, as the Avs lost their fourth straight tilt overall in a 1-0 setback against Minnesota. The Avalanche fired 37 shots at Niklas Backstrom, including 17 in the third period alone, but were still denied a goal. The Wild's Greg Zanon notched the only score of the game in the first period and Backstrom made sure it held up for the win.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 20 saves for the Avalanche and he allowed Zanon to score on a floater from the point.

"That shot went through a bunch of guys and just found the back of the net," said Giguere about the goal. "Most of the times it hits someone, but what can you do."

Colorado is 14-13-0 as the home team this year and will also face Chicago and Carolina during this residency.

The Canucks played the last game without forward Chris Higgins due to flu-like symptoms and he is questionable for today's game. The Avalanche are still without star forward Matt Duchene, who is sidelined with a knee ailment.