Vancouver Canucks vs. Colorado Avalanche Pick & Prediction MARCH 13th 2024

The two hottest teams in the NHL will square off Wednesday night when the Colorado Avalanche visit Vancouver to take on the Western Conference-leading Canucks.

Both teams are riding four-game winning streaks.

It will be the second contest of a marathon nine-game homestand for Vancouver, which won’t play another road contest until April 2 in Las Vegas against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Golden Knights.

The Canucks will be rested after having last played on Saturday, when they scored four goals in the first 24:04 en route to a 5-0 rout of the Winnipeg Jets.

Thatcher Demko was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week on Monday after going 3-0-0 with a 0.81 goals-against average in the week ending on Sunday. He made 12 saves but left at the 6:40 mark of the second period with a lower-body injury. Casey DeSmith finished and made 10 saves.

Vancouver coach Rick Tocchet said Tuesday that DeSmith would “definitely make the next two starts” and categorized Demko, who has a league-leading 34 wins, as week-to-week. When asked if he were worried the injury could keep Demko out for the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs next month, Tocchet responded, “I’m not worried about that at all.”

DeSmith is 8-4-5 with a 2.85 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage. He made 38 appearances (33 starts) last season for the Pittsburgh Penguins and finished with a 15-16-4 mark and a 3.17 GAA.

“I think you look at his past, and I think what he’s done for us, and with Pittsburgh, he’s ran with the ball,” Tocchet said of DeSmith. “And he’s done it very well at times. We have a lot of confidence in him. … I think Casey deserves a chance to get the ball and take it.”

Arturs Silovs was called up from Abbotsford of the American Hockey League, where he had a 15-11-6 record, a .907 save percentage and a 2.74 GAA.

Colorado, which trails first-place Dallas in the Central Division by two points, will play the second game of a back-to-back set that began with a 6-2 win at Calgary on Tuesday.

Mikko Rantanen collected two goals and two assists to record his fifth four-point game of the season and second in three games. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist to extend his point streak to 13 games, and Valeri Nichushkin added a goal and two assists for the Avalanche, who scored five unanswered goals in the second period.

“We were able to build the lead, roll four lines, didn’t tax too many guys, which is a good thing going into the back-to-back in Vancouver (on Wednesday),” Canucks coach Jared Bednar said.

Rantanen topped the 600-point mark for his career while extending his point streak to 10 games (four goals, 14 assists).

“Always trying to help the team, and I’m happy to do that again tonight,” Rantanen said. “Try to play my best, and sometimes those points come. But that’s my job, to try to help in the offensive end, and I’ve just got to keep doing it.”

This will be the third of three regular-season meetings between the two teams. Colorado posted a 5-2 win on Nov. 22 and a 3-1 victory on Feb. 20, with both games being played in Denver.

–Field Level Media

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