5 NHL Questions: Avalanche look to move ahead of Blackhawks

Doug Pensinger

A daily feature that asks five questions about the days NHL games. Will they be answered? (And no, that doesn't count as one of the questions.

1. Will the Colorado Avalanche move ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks in the standings?

Back in October this question would have seemed ridiculous, but here we are. If the Avalanche can beat the Blackhawks in regulation on Wednesday they will move ahead of the defending Stanley Cup champions for second place in the Central Division. It's not that Chicago has been disappointing, it's that Colorado, led by No. 1 overall pick Nathan MacKinnon, has been such a huge surprise Will they move ahead of the Blackhawks on Wednesday?

2. How will the Canucks respond after giving up 7 goals in 20 minutes last time out?

The last time we saw the Vancouver Canucks on the ice they turned a 3-0 lead after two periods into a 7-4 loss against a John Tavares-less Islanders, and people are starting to ask questions about the future of coach John Tortorella. They have to do better on Wednesday against the Winnipeg Jets, right? It would be impossible to do worse, right? They have to win at some point, don't they?

3. Can the Jets keep their playoff hopes alive?

The other side of that game is that both of these teams are trying to keep their playoff hopes alive, entering the game tied with 68 points in the standings, five points back of the final Wild Card spot. So it's kind of a big game. At this point in the season a five point deficit is pretty much impossible to overcome, but if you're going to do it you need to start winning games. Now. Which team will come away with the two big points to cling to their slim postseason chance?

4. Will the Canadiens give up fewer than three goals?

Carey Price isn't expected to play again for the Canadiens, and they've had a difficult time keeping the puck out of the net in his absence, giving up 24 goals in seven games without him. How many will they give up against their long-time rivals from Boston?

5. Will Brian McGrattan extend his goal-scoring streak to ... three?

Before this season Calgary Flames enforcer Brian McGrattan had scored six goals in his NHL career. He's already matched his career high this season (three) in 59 games, and even more incredible is the fact that he enters play on Wednesday having scored in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. This is unexpected. Even more unexpected would be him adding to that streak. Will he do it against the Anaheim Ducks?

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