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Preview: Ducks Open Season Series vs. Avalanche

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

The Ducks (22-13-8, 52 pts.) begin a brief two-game road trip this evening vs. the Colorado Avalanche (13-25-1, 27 pts.) at Pepsi Center (6 p.m. PT, Prime Ticket/AM 830). Anaheim enters the game with standings points in eight of the past nine games (5-1-3) and nine of its past 10 home games (8-1-1). In addition, the club's 5-1-2 record (12 points) since the Christmas break ranks third in the NHL (Washington has 15 points and Vancouver has 13).

Anaheim is coming off a season-high five-game homestand in which it posted a 4-1-0 record with victories over Philadelphia, Detroit, Arizona and Dallas. Through 43 games, the Ducks are three wins and seven points ahead of last year's pace (19-17-7, 45 pts. in 2015-16). Other comparables include goals for (113 this season to 84 last season), goals against (112 to 100), PP% (22.3 to 20.0), PK% (81.7 to 89.4) and FO% (55.5 to 51.9). The current road trip will conclude on Saturday when the Ducks take on the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena (5 p.m. PT).

Tonight's contest opens a three-game season series between the Ducks and Avs. The Ducks have posted a 37-33-12 all-time record vs. the Avalanche, including a 5-3 win in the most recent meeting on April 9, 2016 in Denver. Anaheim also owns a 17-17-5 mark in Colorado, going 6-3-1 in the past 10 games. This season set will conclude during the month of January, marking Anaheim's only series against a Western Conference opponent to be played in a single month this season. The Ducks and Avalanche will meet again next Thursday, January 19 at Honda Center before wrapping up the series on Tuesday, January 31 in Anaheim.

The Ducks are coming off a 2-0 victory over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night at Honda Center. Jakob Silfverberg and Andrew Cogliano, who struck in the second and third periods, respectively, led them up front, while John Gibson stopped 34 shots for his third shutout of the season and second in his past four starts, improving his overall record this season to 16-10-7.

The Avs are returning from their 'bye week' that began immediately following their 2-1 overtime victory over the New York Islanders at Pepsi Center on January 6. Since then, they had four days off before resuming practice yesterday. Nathan MacKinnon leads the club in scoring with 27 points (10g/17a) in 39 games, followed by Matt Duchene (24 points, 13g/11a). Colorado's lineup also features former Ducks Rene Bourque and Francois Beauchemin.

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