AVALANCHE (52-22-7) at DUCKS (53-20-8)
TV: ALT, PRIME
Last 10: Colorado 8-1-1; Anaheim 7-2-1
Season series: Anaheim and Colorado conclude a three-game season series tonight at Honda Center. The Ducks are 33-30-12 all-time vs. the Avalanche, including a 18-14-5 mark in Orange County. The first two games of the season series were played at Pepsi Center: a 6-1 Colorado win on Oct 2 and a 6-4 Anaheim victory on Mar. 14. In the March win, Anaheim set a club record for goals in a period with six tallies in the second frame. The Ducks-Avalanche combined for nine goals in the second period, a two-team record involving Anaheim. The six Ducks goals came in 16:03, the fastest six scored in club history. The first five Anaheim goals were also a club record for fastest five tallies, coming in 8:45.
Teemu Selanne leads Anaheim skaters in career scoring vs. the Avalanche, earning 77 points (36g/41a) in 69 games.
Big story: The Ducks clinched the top record in the Western Conference for the first time in club history last night in Los Angeles, extending franchise records in standings points (114) and goals scored (260, excluding shootout).
On Sunday, the Avalanche will be provided with an opportunity to win the Central Division. They entered the final day of the season even with the St. Louis Blues at 111 points apiece; the Blues host the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday afternoon. With more victories in the ROW (regulation/overtime wins) column, Colorado has the tiebreaker should the teams remain tied at the end of action Sunday. If the Avalanche win the division, they will face the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Otherwise, they'll go up against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Ducks: Anaheim won its first Western Conference regular-season title Saturday when it earned a point en route to a 4-3 shootout win against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. For good measure, though, the Ducks picked up a second point in the standings when Devante Smith-Pelly scored in the fourth round of the tiebreaker.
It's the first time in franchise history the Ducks have won the Western Conference's regular-season crown.
"They all knew they just needed a point," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "We never talked about it, but you could tell after the game was over, they all knew. Some of them were high-fiving each other. That's a pretty big accomplishment for them. Then, we said, 'Let's go win it in a shootout.'"
Avalanche: Sunday marks Colorado's second attempt at winning the Central. The Avalanche could have clinched the division Friday night, but fell short in a 5-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center.
The good news for Colorado is it could have the division wrapped up before it takes the ice. If the Blues lose in regulation to the Red Wings, the Avalanche will clinch because the teams would still have 111 points each.
"If it happens, it happens and it's a bonus," goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere told the team website. "If not, it doesn't matter. Every team that is going to be in the playoffs is going to be a good team."
Who's hot: Ducks left wing Matt Beleskey has scored in three straight games. Center Daniel Winnik has six points (two goals, four assists) in his past seven and defenseman Hampus Lindholm has three assists in the past four. ... Left wing Patrick Bordeleau scored for Colorado on Friday, giving him two goals in his past four games. Ryan O'Reilly has points in five of his past six (two goals, four assists).
Injury report: Ducks right wing Tim Jackman (hand surgery) and defenseman Mark Fistric (lower body) are out. ... Colorado center Matt Duchene (knee) is out. Forward Cody McLeod (ankle) and defenseman Cory Sarich (back) are day-to-day.
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