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NHL PLAYOFFS

Western Conference Preview Capsules

April 11, 2001|ROY JURGENS

No. 1 COLORADO

vs.

No. 8 VANCOUVER

Best of seven

Thursday: at Colorado, 7 p.m.

Saturday: at Colorado, 7 p.m.

Monday: at Vancouver, 7:30 p.m.

April 18: at Vancouver, 7:30 p.m.

April 21: *at Colorado, 7 p.m.

April 23: *at Vancouver, 7:30 p.m.

April 25: *at Colorado, 7:30 p.m.

* if necessary; all times Pacific

THE BREAKDOWN

* Team records: Colorado 52-16-10-4, Vancouver 36-28-11-7.

* Season series: Colorado 3-2-0.

* Coaches: COL--Bob Hartley, 22-14 (.611) in playoffs. VAN: Marc Crawford, 31-21 (.596) in playoffs.

* Scouting report: The Avalanche faces former coach Mark Crawford in what appears to be an epic mismatch. Colorado cruised to the best record in the NHL while the Canucks backed into the playoffs, winning only one of their last nine games. Avalanche captain Joe Sakic will be looking to follow up his great season with great playoffs, given his impending free-agent status. Always scary Peter Forsberg becomes even more possessed in the playoffs. Young forwards Milan Hejduk, Alex Tanguay and Chris Drury add to an offense as potent as any in the NHL. Recent addition Rob Blake greatly improved a defense already anchored by the likes of Ray Bourque and Adam Foote. The Canucks will try to counter Colorado's skill with physical play. Without leading scorer Markus Naslund or top playmaker Andrew Cassels, the Canucks must take the body. Vancouver will look to wingers Todd Bertuzzi and Donald Brashear for muscle and leadership.

* Goaltending: Colorado's Patrick Roy would love another Stanley Cup ring to top off a season in which he became hockey's winningest goalie. Veteran Bob Essensa will be the sacrificial lamb in goal for the Canucks, with Dan Cloutier waiting in the wings.

* Team leaders: COL--Joe Sakic (54 goals, 64 assists, 118 points). VAN--Markus Naslund (41 goals, 75 points), Andrew Cassels (44 assists).

* Late-season additions: COL--D Rob Blake, C Steve Reinprecht. VAN--G Dan Cloutier, D Drake Berehowsky.

* Injury report: COL--D Ray Bourque (back) day to day. VAN--LW Naslund (leg) out for playoffs, C Cassels (ankle) indefinite.

*--*

THE MATCHUPS COL VAN Goals scored 270 (4) 239 (12) Goals allowed 192 (T3) 238 (21) Power play pct. 22.0 (3) 17.1 (13) Penalty killing 82.7 (19) 80.9 (25) Goals against avg. 2.31 (4) 2.85 (21) Save percentage .907 (11) .888 (27) Avg. penalty min. 13.9 (10) 13.6 (8) Short-handed goals 11 (T8) 12 (7)

*--*

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