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Preview: Ducks Look to Snap Skid Tonight in Colorado

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

With two games remaining on their four-game road trip, the Ducks will look to snap a losing skid tonight against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center. (6 p.m. PT, TV: KCOP-13, Radio: AM 830). The Ducks have dropped three in a row for the first time this season, and tonight they face one of the hottest teams in the league.

Losses to Nashville and Dallas in the first two games of this trip have the Ducks searching for offense. They've had their chances, especially Thursday night when they made a frantic push in the closing minutes of regulation, but the Ducks have only scored twice in those two games combined. Prior to the trip, the Ducks scored 10 times over three games at home.

They'll have to soldier on without the services of defenseman Josh Manson and right wing Ondrej Kase at least for the next two games. Manson (lower body) and Kase (upper body) both suffered injuries during the first period in Dallas, and have been ruled out for games this weekend. A further update will be available next week.

Tonight could mark the Ducks debut for defenseman Erik Gudbranson, acquired yesterday from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Andreas Martinsen and a seventh-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. The 27-year-old blueliner has played 474 career games with Florida, Vancouver and Pittsburgh, earning 64 points (16g/48a). The Ottawa native was selected by the Panthers in the first round (third overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft. He split the 2018-19 season between Vancouver and Pittsburgh, recording 10 points (2g/8a) in 76 games, and led Pittsburgh with a +7 rating in the 19 games following his acquisition Feb. 25, 2019.

This is the opener of a three-game season series between the Ducks and Avs, and one of two in the Mile High City. The Ducks are 43-35-13 all time vs. the Avs, including a 19-19-7 mark at Pepsi Center. The Ducks have won the last two meetings, including a 5-3 victory on March 15, 2019 at Pepsi Center and a 2-1 win on March 3, 2019 at Honda Center. Ryan Getzlaf leads active Ducks in career scoring vs. Colorado with 41 points (13g/28a) in 44 career games.

Offense isn't an issue for the Avs, who rank among the top-four in goals this season. They're averaging 4.20 goals per game, tied for first in the NHL with Nashville. Their only regulation loss this season occurred Monday, a 3-1 defeat in St. Louis. Colorado remains perfect at home, winning each of its first four games at Pepsi Center. Dating back to last season, the Avs have won 10 straight regular-season games on home ice, matching the franchise record for the longest home winning streak over multiple seasons.

Tonight's Avs lineup won't feature dynamic right wing Mikko Rantanen, who suffered a lower-body injury in Monday's game against the Blues. Rantanen was placed on injured reserve the following day and is listed as week to week, according to head coach Jared Bednar.

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