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Recap: Ducks Roll to 4-1 Victory over Avalanche

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

It wasn't pretty, but the Ducks found a way. With their siblings in attendance, the Ducks dug deep and closed out a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Thursday night. This is the first-ever siblings trip for the Ducks, and while not all of the special guests were siblings (Ryan Getzlaf invited his brother-in-law and Jonathan Bernier brought his mother), it was certainly a memorable evening for everyone involved.

Jakob Silfverberg, Rickard Rakell, Ryan Kesler and Corey Perry tallied goals for the Ducks, who won for the fifth time in their past six games to improve their overall record this season to 23-13-8 (54 points). Making his 10th consecutive start in goal, John Gibson put together another solid performance - this time a 33-save effort to give him wins in five of his past six starts.

Nathan MacKinnon scored the lone goal for the Avalanche, who fell to a league-worst 13-26-1 (27 points) after coming off their NHL-mandated bye week. The loss also dropped their home record to 5-14-1. Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves in the loss.

The Ducks never trailed in the game, and it didn't take long for Silfverberg to make an impact. After blocking Francois Beauchemin's one-timer at the left point, Silfverberg raced down the wing and fired a shot past Varlamov for his 13th goal of the season at the 3:52 mark of the first period. It was also his fourth point (2g/2a) in his past three games and eighth point (5g/3a) in his past 10.

Video: ANA@COL: Silfverberg nets a nifty wrister on the rush

The lead was short-lived, however, as a miscue in the neutral zone between Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson allowed MacKinnon to skate in all alone on Gibson before putting a backhander top shelf just 1:32 after Silfverberg's goal.

Unfazed, the Ducks responded 49 seconds later when Rakell wired a wrist shot over Varlamov's right shoulder for his team-leading 17th goal of the season. The goal snapped a personal five-game goal-less drought for the 23-year-old Swede, who used an effective screen from Perry to beat Varlamov.

Video: ANA@COL: Rakell buries wrist shot through traffic

Rakell's older brother, Robin (25), is among those on the siblings trip, and, following the game, Rickard shared his thoughts on what it meant having him here. "It's really special," he said. "Being with him and seeing everybody else's siblings here, and how much fun everyone is having, it's a great time for all of us."

The second period began with fisticuffs after Cody McLeod's open-ice hit on Stefan Noesen. Joseph Cramarossa took exception to the hit and challenged the veteran pugilist McLeod, who has 18 pounds on the Ducks rookie.  

Less than four minutes later, Anaheim increased its lead to 3-1 on a nice rush up the ice from recent call-up Shea Theodore, whose wrap-around attempt was banged home by Kesler, who tied Rakell for the team-lead in goals. As one of two Ducks heading to the upcoming NHL All-Star Game (also Cam Fowler), Kesler's goal gave him eight points (5g/3a) in his past nine games and 17 points (9g/8a) in his past 18.

Video: ANA@COL: Kesler takes advantage of Varlamov's error

Perry added an empty-net goal with 1:36 remaining in regulation to seal the victory for the Ducks, who improved to 16-0-1 when leading after two periods. Rakell earned the primary assist on the goal, giving him two points on the night, while Fowler's secondary helper pushed him past Matt Cullen (200) for sole possession of ninth on the franchise's all-time scoring list.

Video: ANA@COL: Perry puts game away with empty-netter

"It's always nice to see him score," Rakell said of Perry. "He's working really hard. He's creating scoring chances, but sometimes they don't go in. It's certainly nice to see him score."

The Ducks continue on to Arizona, where they'll close out this two-game road trip on Saturday night against the Coyotes at Gila River Arena.

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