It was sometime between 2-3 a.m. this morning when the Ducks were able to call it a night after touching down in Denver following a tough game in Arizona. With little time to recover, they'll finish off a tough back-to-back tonight against a well-rested Colorado Avalanche team that hasn't played since Monday. (6 p.m. PT, TV: FOX Sports West, Radio: AM 830).
This is another instance where the Ducks will be playing a team in a playoff spot or right on the edge. Last night they faced a Coyotes team holding down the second wild card spot, and their opponent tonight trails Arizona by five points. Not that this is a must-win gave for the Avs, but with 12 games remaining on their schedule, time is running out for a second straight postseason appearance.
The Ducks have earned points in the first two meetings of the season against the Avs, including a 2-1 victory at Honda Center on March 3. All-time, the Ducks hold a 42-35-13 mark against the Avs, along with an 18-19-7 record at Pepsi Center. This is the series finale against between the two clubs, which saw the Avs earn a 4-3 OT win on Nov. 18 in Anaheim.
Colorado comes in with losses in four of its last six games (2-4-0), and has been shutout in its last two defeats (3-0 vs. Carolina on Tuesday and 4-0 at Dallas on March 7). This is the third game of a four-game homestand that concludes against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday.
The Avs boast three players with 30 goals or more this season (Nathan MacKinnon: 35, Gabe Landeskog: 33, Mikko Rantanen: 30). Only one other team in Avs history featured three 30-goal scorers, and that was in 1995-96 when they had four (Joe Sakic: 51, Claude Lemieux: 39, Valeri Kamensky: 38, Peter Forsberg: 30). MacKinnon leads the club and ranks seventh in the league with 87 points (35g/52a) in 70 games. Needing just three more points to reach the 90-point mark for the second consecutive season, MacKinnon could join Peter Forsberg as the only two Avalanche players to post back-to-back seasons of over 90 points.