Avs to Get Their Ducks in a Row


That’s right — I went there. Moving on.

So the Colorado Avalanche are hosting the Anaheim Ducks for the first of three meetings between the Western Conference rivals. The Avalanche are fresh off of their 3-2 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues, one which agitated Matt Duchene for one:

"“I think we played a hell of a hockey game. [Varlamov] played well, our D did well, our fourth line played well and created lots of chances. Our power play was clicking. It stinks to be coming out with one point.”"

The Ducks, on the other hand, played the Dallas Stars in Dallas on Friday night, winning 2-1 in overtime.


Last Season’s Match Ups

Last season the three matches between the teams were eventful, to say the least. The Avs hosted the Ducks for their season home opener, when head coach Patrick Roy famously stormed the Bastille between benches. The Avs won 6-0.

Unfortunately Colorado dropped the other two matches. During the March 15 game, the Avs were up a goal going into the second, Then they gave up six (even while scoring three of their own) to go on and lose the game 6-4. Defenseman Erik Johnson also got ejected from the game early in the third for roughing Mathieu Perreault. (Which also marked the first time I’d seen my favorite player get ejected from a game I was attending. It was not, unfortunately, the last time, thank you, Erik Haula.)

The Avs closed out their season in Anaheim, where they lost 3-2 in overtime. Nobody really cared. The announcers spent the majority of the time talking about the upcoming playoffs, which the Avs had made for the first time in four years. The game also marked the last time veteran forward Teemu Selanne skated in a regular-season NHL game and veteran goalie JS Giguere played.

While it is unlikely today’s game will be quite so entertaining, it still should be a good match.

Corey Perry

Seriously, that man is irritating. If he’s not squirting water into your glove or stealing your stick, he’s scoring hat tricks. He has a ridiculous 10 goals in 12 games so far.

Last year he was also front and center for all the scrum between the Avs and the Ducks. Colorado will want to keep an eye on him.

Keys to the Game

Road Fatigue

More from Mile High Sticking

Even though this is a home game, the Avs just traveled back from a game in St. Louis played Saturday. And, of course, it went not only into overtime, but into the shootout. Colorado ultimately lost in the shootout, which likely didn’t make their plane trip back from St. Louis all that pleasant. Coach Roy has also announced that Semyon Varlamov will start again. The players are going to need to dig deep for their reserves of energy for the Ducks game.

Anaheim won’t have quite the same problem, probably having come into Denver on Saturday. However, they play all their home games at sea level, and most of their division games at that altitude, too. That gives the Avs a slight advantage — there’s just not as much air at 5,280 feet.


Nate MacKinnon finally scored his first goal in the game against the New York Islanders. That felt so good, he scored another in the same period. He then scored one of the two tallies the Avs got in the third period against the St. Louis Blues. We all knew that once he got started, he’d be off to the races. That looks to be true.

The Ducks have a similar situation. Two of their promising youngsters, Jakob Sifverberg and Emerson Etem haven’t scored any goals yet. Here’s to hoping neither one of them uses the Avs game to kickstart their scoring.

Who’s Hot, Who’s Not


Nate MacKinnon got a slow start to the season, but he’s on fire now. He got both a goal and an assist in the Blues game.

The Avalanche specialty teams are also rocking. The two Avalanche goals in St. Louis came on power plays, making them now 7 for 22 on the power play in their last six games. Their penalty kill is even more impressive — they’ve killed 20 straight.


Overtime and the shootout have not been good for the Avs this season — they have yet to win in either one. It’s perplexing since they play excellent hockey when it goes 4-on-4 due to penalties — the extra ice seems to open up their play. They also have some top snipers who should be bedeviling goalies in the shootout.

Hopefully the Avs can just take care of business in regulation against Anaheim. They certainly don’t need to play extra hockey.

The Colorado Avalanche-Anaheim Ducks game begins at 6:00 PM MDT and will be broadcast on Altitude.