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Preview: Ducks, Avs Conclude Season Series Tonight

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

The Ducks (27-15-9, 63 pts.) return from the All-Star break to host the Colorado Avalanche (13-31-2, 28 pts.) tonight at Honda Center (7 p.m. PT, Prime Ticket/AM 830). Anaheim's .618 points percentage is its third-best coming out of an All-Star break in franchise history, trailing only 2014-15 (.723) and 2006-07 (.680). The Ducks have gone 9-3-1 in January, marking a season high in wins for a single month this season. Anaheim has posted a 10-3-3 record since Christmas, tied for second among league leaders in standings points and tied for third in wins. In addition, Anaheim (30) and Vancouver (30) have allowed the fewest goals in the league since Christmas.

On the penalty kill, the Ducks are 49-for-54 for a 90.7% that leads the league since December 25. Anaheim has held opponents to two goals or less in 10 of the last 12 games (20 GA total), held teams without a power-play goal in eight of the last nine games, and scored a PPG in four of the last five contests.

Tonight's contest concludes the three-game season series between the Ducks and Avs. The Ducks have posted a 39-33-12 all-time record vs. the Avalanche, including a 4-1 win on January 12 at Pepsi Center and a 2-1 victory a week later at Honda Center. Anaheim also owns an all-time mark of 21-16-5 at home vs. Colorado. Tonight's season series finale marks Anaheim's only series against a Western Conference opponent to be played in a single month this season. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf enters tonight's game leading Anaheim skaters in career scoring against Colorado with 34 points (11g/23a) in 38 games.

It's been six days since the Ducks last played, a disappointing 4-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers at Honda Center. Following the setback, Ducks players said it would be a game they'd flush as they entered the break. With the second half of the season upon us and the stretch run quickly approaching, the Ducks will look to build a foundation of consistency as they embark on the final two months of the season. To a man, the Ducks admit they still haven't played to their full potential.

While the Ducks are trending upward, the same can't be said about the Avs, who have yet to reach the 30-point mark on the season through 46 games. The Avs are on pace to finish dead last in the league, and it's been a season of frustration and bewilderment for a team that has only won three times since December 11 (20 games, 3-16-1). Goaltender Semyon Varlamov has been shut down for the remainder of the season after undergoing hip surgery on January 26, so, for now, the club will rely on 24-year-old Calvin Pickard and 21-year-old rookie Spencer Martin. The silver lining in this otherwise forgettable season is the chance at winning the draft lottery, which the Avs did in 2013 when they selected Nathan MacKinnon with the first overall selection.

Following tonight's contest, the Ducks will embark on a season-long 14-day, six-game road trip that makes stops in Florida (Friday, February 3, 4:30 p.m. PT), Tampa Bay (Saturday, February 4, 4 p.m. PT), New York Rangers (Tuesday, February 7, 4 p.m. PT), Buffalo (Thursday, February 9, 4 p.m. PT), Washington (Saturday, February 11, 4 p.m. PT) and Minnesota (Tuesday, February 14, 5 p.m. PT).

Upcoming milestones include Corey Perry one point to 700 NHL points, Kevin Bieksa one assist shy of 200 career NHL assists, Cam Fowler one goal from tying Oleg Tverdovsky (45) for third on the franchise's all-time goals list for defensemen and Hampus Lindholm one goal from surpassing Ruslan Salei (26) for sole possession of 10th on the franchise's all-time goals list for defensemen.

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