Ducks Look to Stay Hot Against Avalanche
Tuesday, 12.22.2009 / 5:00 PM
NHL.comDUCKS (14-14-7) at AVALANCHE (21-11-6)
Anaheim 4-3-3; Colorado 6-3-1
First of four meetings this season -- the next three won't take place until after the Olympic break. Anaheim swept the series in 2008-09 by a combined score of 19-7. Teemu Selanne
had four of those goals and Corey Perry
added three. Jonas Hiller
had three of the four wins in net.
Colorado plays for the second consecutive night coming off a morale-boosting win in Minnesota on Monday. While the Avalanche and Wild got off to vastly different starts to their season, the Wild have been coming on of late and owned a 4-0-0 mark against the Avalanche this season. By holding on for a 4-3 win, Colorado extended its lead in the Northwest Division to four points over Calgary and 11 over Minnesota.
Not many teams have found success playing Phoenix this season, but Anaheim claimed an important 4-2 win Saturday afternoon with Hiller standing front and center. His 39 saves kept the Ducks afloat, and Kyle Chipchura
scored the key go-ahead goal just 34 seconds after Coyotes captain Shane Doan made it a 1-1 game midway through the second period.
"Our goalie gave us a chance, obviously," coach Randy Carlyle said. "Jonas stood tall in the hockey game for us, specifically in the penalty killing situations. The first period we were slapping the puck around and were flat. That is what you need, your goalie to pitch you a shutout for a period or so and then you get your feet underneath you."
Something about playing Minnesota just hasn't brought out the best in Colorado over the past few seasons -- Monday's win was only their second in regulation out of the last 16 games between the teams. And it didn't come easily. After taking a 3-0 lead, the Avalanche yielded a shorthanded goal, restored the three-goal advantage with one of their own, then gave up two more to the Wild in a 1:52 span of the third before hanging on for a 4-3 victory.
"They just turned it up a notch, and I think we did a pretty good job of playing solid defensively," said goalie Craig Anderson, who stopped 28 shots.
Hiller has won his last three starts for the Ducks, allowing just five goals and posting a .953 save percentage. Ryan Getzlaf
has scored goals in three straight games. Bobby Ryan
has three goals and five assists during a six-game points streak.
Milan Hejduk has two goals and four points in the last two games for the Avalanche. Chris Stewart has goals in consecutive games and three out of four. Matt Duchene has a goal and four points in the last three games.
Selanne remains out for Anaheim after surgery on his left hand. Forward Joffrey Lupul
recently had back surgery that will sideline him for 6-8 weeks. Forward Ryan Carter
is also on injured reserve with a broken right foot.
A groin injury kept Colorado forward Marek Svatos out of Monday's game. Forward David Jones will likely miss the rest of the season after tearing his left ACL. He joins defenseman Kyle Cumiskey (foot) and Ruslan Salei (back) on injured reserve.
Whether the Ducks opt to go with Hiller or Jean-Sebastien Giguere, both goaltenders have solid career numbers against the Avalanche. Hiller is 4-1-0 with a 1.59 goals-against average, while Giguere has won his last four starts against Colorado with a 1.72 GAA in that span.
A lot of teams beat up on the Avalanche last season when they finished at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. They're no pushover anymore, and the Ducks need these two points badly.