Time for redemption

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

It's a centennial the Canucks are loathe to celebrate.

Wednesday night's return visit to General Motors Place by the Colorado Avalanche is the 100th meeting with Vancouver in National Hockey League history and marks the sixth game in the first two months of the season with the former Quebec Nordiques.

Colorado holds the all-time advantage 49-34-15-1, including 32-13-7-1 since moving to Denver 10 years ago. Colorado also has the Canucks' number in the playoffs, beating Vancouver in the first round in 1996 and 2001.

Canucks have had trouble this season with the Avalanche since the third period of their first meeting on Oct. 22 in Vancouver when the Canucks wound up 6-4 winners.

A short-handed goal by Trevor Linden snuffed a late comeback sparked by ex-Canuck Brad May in his return to his old home rink. Since then, Colorado has beaten the Canucks 6-2 and 4-3 (overtime) on Oct. 27 and 29, respectively, 5-3 on Nov. 10 and 6-2 on Sunday.

After dismal starts in the last two Colorado games, clearly Vancouver's mission is to be ahead after the first period.

Avalanche already have a 12-4 goal-scoring advantage over the Canucks in the opening period, but they're not the only team to have its way with Vancouver. Canucks own a dismal 16-26 scoring record in the opening frame.

Avs' forward Andrew Brunette already has eight points against Vancouver this season and Sakic is firmly ensconced in third place on the Canucks' nemesis list. "Burnaby Joe" has 26 goals and 55 assists against Vancouver, behind Joe Nieuwendyk (82 points) and Wayne Gretzky (104) all-time versus Vancouver. Alex Tanguay, likewise, enjoys playing Vancouver. He has 10 goals and 23 assists in 30 career games against the Canucks.

Pierre Turgeon is a point away from the 1,300 career mark, but is day-to-day with a groin injury.

If Auld starts, he'll need a better performance. He gave up two goals in the first five shots by the Phoenix Coyotes in a 2-1 loss Saturday in Glendale, Arizona, and was the loser Sunday against the Avalanche.

Canucks will venture to Edmonton Thursday for a game against the Oilers and could face rookie netminder Mike Morrison. Morrison is the NHL's reigning defensive player of the week. He recorded three wins, including two in shootouts, to earn the honours.

A special treat for Canucks' fans is Sunday's meeting with the Boston Bruins. Vancouver is scheduled to wear its retro green, white and blue jerseys in the team's first meeting with an eastern conference opponent.

Bruins are the first of the Northeast Division's teams to visit Vancouver.

The four-day break between Dec. 4's meeting with Boston and the Dec. 8 visit by the Ottawa Senators is the longest until February's Olympic break.


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