Fri, 20 May 2022

Avalanche on a roll as they meet depleted Ducks

Field Level Media
19 Jan 2022, 07:40 GMT+10

The Colorado Avalanche will take a nine-game points streak on the road Wednesday for their final meeting of the regular season with the host Anaheim Ducks.

The Avalanche are 8-0-1 since resuming play from an extended holiday break, opening that run with a 4-2 home victory over the Ducks on Jan. 2. Colorado has won both meetings with the Ducks this season, both at home, by a combined 9-4 score.

The Avalanche have won 14 consecutive home games but they are far from a pushover on the road, earning points in five of their past six games away from their own building. It is a much-improved run considering they have a 9-6-2 overall road record.

As good as Colorado has been lately, there have been plenty of close calls. They dropped a 5-4 overtime decision on Jan. 11 to the Nashville Predators, with two overtime victories and two shootout triumphs over the past three weeks.

One of those successful shootouts came Monday against the Minnesota Wild after regulation and overtime ended in a 3-all tie. Mikko Rantanen scored his 20th goal of the season in regulation and added the shootout winner. Nathan MacKinnon scored his ninth of the season and added his 31st assist.

"We were killing teams for a while there every night, so it's important for us to be in these tight games," MacKinnon said. "Last year we didn't have many tight games, we beat a lot of teams really bad all year, so in the playoffs it didn't help us. We're in high-pressure situations against really good teams."

Colorado could be without goalie Darcy Kuemper on Wednesday. He left Monday's game in the second period with an injury after a collision with Minnesota's Jordan Greenway. Pavel Francouz took over and made 25 saves, as well as stopping all three Wild attempts in the shootout.

The Ducks have been in a funk of late, losing three consecutive games and seven of nine since resuming play Dec. 29. They have a 2-6-1 mark over that stretch but still sit in third place in the Pacific Division.

Anaheim goalie John Gibson has been in COVID-19 protocol since last playing Jan. 4, while backup Anthony Stolarz joined him there Saturday. Leading scorer Troy Terry (22 goals, 14 assists) also is in protocol, while Cam Fowler, Adam Henrique and Sonny Milano are out with injuries.

The Ducks fell 3-0 on the road against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, with third-string goalie Lukas Dostal playing well in his third career game and second start, making 33 saves. But the offense stalled without Terry and Milano.

"Just try not to think about it," Ducks young forward Trevor Zegras said about so many key teammates out of action. "Just go out there and play the best you can for whatever time you're out there.

"The last couple games have been tough. I feel like we've been putting a lot of pucks on net and creating some good chances. It's just a matter of kind of playing better on our end and cleaning up the little stuff."

--Field Level Media

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