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Preview: Ducks Take on Hot-Start Avalanche Tonight at Pepsi Center

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

The first road game of the regular season is upon us, as tonight the Ducks are in the Mile High City to take on the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center. Game time is set for 6 p.m. PT with television/radio coverage on Prime Ticket and AM 830, respectively.

Anaheim is coming off a season-opening four-game homestand that saw the club post a 2-1-1 record (5 points) with wins in the opener against the Arizona Coyotes and a 3-2 triumph over the New York Islanders on Wednesday. Patrick Eaves made his season debut that night against the Isles, and it was his goal at the 5:32 mark of the third period that stood as the game winner. John Gibson, who has started all four games thus far, is expected to make his fifth consecutive start tonight against the Avs.

The Ducks are led in scoring by left wing Andrew Cogliano, who enters tonight's contest with five points (2g/3a) through four games, including a multi-point effort in the win against the Islanders (1g/1a).

The Ducks, who have posted a 40-33-12 all-time record vs. the Avalanche, including an 18-17-7 mark on the road, have won the last four consecutive meetings and two straight at Pepsi Center. Anaheim went 3-0-0 vs. the Avalanche last season and was led in scoring by Jakob Silfverberg (4 points, 3g/1a) and Rickard Rakell (4 points, 2g/2a). Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf paces the Ducks in career scoring vs. the Avalanche, collecting 35 points (11g/24a) in 39 games.

After a nightmarish and forgettable 2016-17 season that saw the Avs finish with a league-low 48 points (22-56-4), the club is off to a 3-1-0 start this time around (though it should be noted they also started last season 3-1-0). They swept a home-and-home series with the Boston Bruins earlier this week, which most recently included a 6-3 win in their home opener on Wednesday.

The Avalanche is led in scoring by former first overall pick Nail Yakupov and spotlight center Matt Duchene, who each have five points through four games. Yakupov, who signed a one-year contract with the Avs back in July, has three goals through four games - the same amount he had in 40 games last season with the St. Louis Blues. Duchene, meanwhile, has been able to produce despite being the focal point of trade chatter around the league. The 26-year-old center has two years left on his contract (including this season) and has two goals and three helpers along with a +4 rating through four games. Duchene enters tonight's matchup with 176 goals and 423 points in 576 career games with the Avalanche.

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