Anaheim at Colorado
When: 9:00 PM
ET, Friday, March 14, 2014
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
The hottest team in the NHL since New Year's Eve, the Colorado Avalanche can continue their ascent up the Western Conference standings when they host the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night in their second straight heavyweight showdown. The Avalanche held off Chicago 3-2 on Wednesday night to vault past the Blackhawks and into second place in the Central Division and can pull even with the Ducks and San Jose for the No. 2 seed in the West. The Avalanche have a league-high 20 wins since Dec. 31.
The Ducks once held a firm grip on the top slot in the West and the Presidents' Trophy, but their losing streak reached four games with a gruesome 7-2 setback at Calgary on Wednesday in the opener of a three-game road trip. Anaheim is four points back of league-best St. Louis after losing seven of 10 (3-5-2). "To start a road trip, one of our biggest road trips and having a division rival chasing you down and have a ton on the line, it's ridiculous how we played," Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said after the debacle in Alberta.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, FSN West (Anaheim), ALT2 (Denver)
ABOUT THE DUCKS (43-16-7): Anaheim has also seen its lead atop the Pacific Division disappear primarily due to an offensive swoon in which it has been limited to two goals or fewer seven times in the last 10 games. The power play continues to be a disaster for the Ducks, failing to convert on a pair of opportunities against the Flames to dip to dismal 2-for-35 over the past 11 games. Captain Ryan Getzlaf, coming off the first minus-4 of his career, needs one goal to reach 30 for the first time - but he's mired in a six-game drought and hasn't scored with the man advantage since Dec. 6.
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (43-18-5): Matt Duchene continues to lead the charge for surging Colorado, notching a goal and assisting on the game-winning tally to lift the Avalanche to their sixth victory in seven games. Duchene has scored in three of the last four contests and has amassed five goals and nine assists during a career-best nine-game point streak, but he made it clear that Colorado is not satisfied with its standing despite finishing last in the West a year ago. "We are happy to be in second place, but that's not our goal," Duchene said. "We want to keep pushing and climb as high as we can."
1. Colorado has won the last two meetings, including a 6-1 drubbing at home in the season opener.
2. Ducks F Corey Perry, who leads the teams with 35 goals, has scored six times in the last seven games.
3. G Reto Berra, acquired at the trade deadline as another backup to Semyon Varlamov, agreed to a three-year deal with Colorado on Thursday.
PREDICTION: Avalanche 3, Ducks 2
Stats and Records