The Colorado Avalanche returns to Denver after a season-long, six-game road trip to host the Anaheim Ducks at Pepsi Center on Saturday night. The Avs kept their strong start to the year alive on the road after defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 6-1 on Friday afternoon. Colorado finished with a 4-1-1 record on the trip and improved to 8-1-1 on the season. The matchup against Anaheim is the second part of a back-to-back series for Colorado, which will play 12 such instances this year.
Nathan MacKinnon has tallied 14 points (five goals, nine assists) this campaign after registering two assists in Vegas, giving him the team lead in scoring and extending his season-opening point streak to 10 games. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (one goal, two assists), Matt Calvert (two goals) and Nazem Kadri also had multi-point outings for the Avs at the Golden Knights.
Cale Makar also scored for Colorado on Friday for his first career regular-season NHL goal. His nine points on the season (one goal, nine assists) are the most by an Avs blueliner this year and are the most-ever by a rookie defenseman in a single month.
Anaheim started the season 6-5-0, playing only five of its first 11 at home. This will be the second contest of a three-game road trip for the Ducks, who will play at Vegas on Sunday before going home to play seven straight. Colorado will face Anaheim three times this season, with two of the contests happening at Pepsi Center.
Avalanche vs. Anaheim Ducks
Pepsi Center | Denver, Colo.
Avalanche left wing Matt Nieto was born in Long Beach… Ducks center Troy Terry is from Denver and played three years at the University of Denver.
Colorado is 41-33-17 all-time against Anaheim, including sporting a 22-18-5 record as the home team. The clubs faced off three times last year, twice on the Ducks' home ice. The Avs won the Nov. 18 matchup in Anaheim by a 4-3 score in overtime but fell to the Ducks on the road on March 3 (2-1) and at home on March 15 (5-3).
Avs center Nathan MacKinnon recorded five points (two goals, three assists) in the three games to lead the team against the Ducks during the 2018-19 season. Right wing Mikko Rantanen followed MacKinnon with four points (two goals, two assists) against Anaheim, including the overtime game-winning goal that gave Colorado the first victory of the three-game series.
Goaltender Pavel Francouz is expected to start between the pipes for Colorado in the second half of the back-to-back after Philipp Grubauer played the entire contest on Friday in Vegas.
Mikko Rantanen is listed as week-to-week after suffering a lower-body injury in Monday's game against the St. Louis Blues.
SCOUTING THE DUCKS
The Ducks are 6-5-0 this season after a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday and have lost their last three games. Anaheim is 2-4-0 as the road team so far this year, but they have scored at least one goal in each matchup. The Ducks have 12 points on the year, putting the club in a tie with the Vancouver Canucks for fourth place in the Pacific Division.
Anaheim finished the 2018-19 season with a 35-37-10 record and 80 points. It was the first year that the Ducks missed the playoffs since 2011-12 and only the second time in the past seven years that they did not win the Pacific Division.
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: Ryan Getzlaf
Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf was the leading scorer against Colorado during the 2018-19 season series with five points (two goals, three assists) in three games, as well as leading the club with 10 shots on goal. He was also fourth in faceoffs against the Avs last season, winning 56.1 percent of his draws. Anaheim as a team finished seventh in the league last season with a 51.3 faceoff percentage.
Getzlaf has tallied five points (three goals, two assists) so far in 2019-20 and has won 59.5 percent of his faceoffs. Getzlaf will likely play his 1000th NHL game later this season and has recorded 928 points (264 goals, 664 assists) in 995 career contests since making his debut with the Ducks in 2005.
Nathan MacKinnon recorded two assists on Friday in Vegas to bring his point streak to 10 games--the longest season-opening point streak in team history since the club moved to Denver in 1995. MacKinnon, who has recorded 14 points (five goals, nine assists) so far this year, is one of five players in NHL history to register point streaks of nine games or more to begin a season in consecutive years (he had a nine-game run to start 2018-19).
Gabriel Landeskog will play in his 590th NHL game on Saturday, all of which has come in an Avalanche uniform. Since being drafted No. 2 overall in 2011, he has tallied 423 points (180 goals, 243 assists), five behind Matt Duchene for 10th place on the franchise's all-time scoring list.
Gaining 17 out of a possible 20 points this season, the Avs currently have the highest point percentage in the league at .850. Colorado's 17 points put the club in a tie for third place overall in the NHL standings, but it is the only team of the bunch that has played fewer than 11 games this year.
Colorado is back at the Pepsi Center for the start of a three-game homestand after the two-week road trip wrapped up on Friday… The Avs will next take on the Florida Panthers on Wednesday at 8 p.m. before hosting the Dallas Stars on Friday… Goaltender Philipp Grubauer is tied for the second most wins in the league with six… Colorado is averaging 4.20 goals per game this season, tied with Nashville for the NHL lead, and leads all teams in goal differential (plus-17)… The Avs swept their first back-to-back set of the season last weekend (W 5-4 OT at Florida on Oct. 18, W 6-2 at Tampa Bay on Oct. 19)… The Avalanche is 4-0 at Pepsi Center this year and has won 10 straight regular-season home games dating back to last year, matching the franchise record for the longest home winning streak including multiple seasons.