The Colorado Avalanche and Vancouver Canucks will be playing for first place in the Northwest Division on Wednesday night. Only one team, though, has looked much like a division leader lately.
Colorado looks to extend its season-high four-game winning streak and send Vancouver to its fifth straight loss as the teams meet at Rogers Arena.
Despite missing No. 1 goaltender Craig Anderson for nearly a month due to a right knee injury, the Avalanche (12-7-1) are atop the Northwest with a two-point lead on the Canucks (10-7-3).
Colorado has been particularly good on the road, improving to 6-3-1 with a 4-3 shootout victory over Dallas on Saturday. Kevin Porter's three-game goal-scoring streak came to an end, but he converted in the fifth round of the tiebreaker to help the Avalanche win after blowing a three-goal lead.
Milan Hejduk scored a pair of power-play goals for Colorado, which was playing its sixth game in nine days.
"There was a lot of things going against us tonight, but I though the character really stood out," coach Joe Sacco said. "We got two points out of this game, and we're real happy with that."
Sacco's team has scored 19 goals during the four-game streak, going 4 for 11 on the power play.
"If you go around this room, man-to-man, I think each and every guy would say we're pretty confident right now," defenseman John-Michael Liles told the team's official website. "We have a good feeling throughout this team and it show in practices and games."
Liles is on pace for the best season of his career with 20 points in 20 games. He is tied with Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom for the league scoring lead among defensemen.
Anderson is scheduled to start after Peter Budaj was in net against Dallas. The Avalanche are 1-5-1 in their last seven meetings against the Canucks, with Anderson recording the lone victory in a shootout April 6. He is 2-8-1 with a 3.52 goals-against average lifetime against Vancouver.
"They're a very tough team from top to bottom," Liles said of the Canucks. "It's a game that I don't think we'll have any trouble getting up for."
Coming off a 7-1 home loss to Chicago one night earlier, the Canucks lost their fourth straight with Saturday's 3-2 defeat to Phoenix. It was the second consecutive home loss for Vancouver after a 6-0-1 start at Rogers Arena.
"We're having a tough time right now finishing and finding the back of the net and it seems the other team is throwing pucks at our net and it's going off shin pads and stuff like that," coach Alain Vigneault said.
Vancouver hasn't dropped five in a row since a seven-game skid Jan. 9-28, 2009.
Daniel Sedin and brother Henrik have combined for no goals and two assists in the last three games but both could be poised to break out Wednesday. Henrik has five goals and five assists during a six-game point streak against the Avalanche while Daniel has three goals and five assists in a four-game run.
Roberto Luongo has been in net for each of the last three losses during the current slide, posting a 3.94 GAA. He is 4-0-1 in his last five starts against the Avalanche, however.