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Ducks at Avalanche preview

MacKinnon seeks to extend season-opening point streak for Colorado; Gudbranson to make debut for Anaheim

by Rick Sadowski / Independent Correspondent

DUCKS (6-5-0) at AVALANCHE (8-1-1)

9 p.m. ET; ALT, KCOP-13, NHL.TV


The Game

Nathan MacKinnon will seek to extend his season-opening point streak to 11 games when the Colorado Avalanche host the Anaheim Ducks at Pepsi Center on Saturday.

MacKinnon has 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 10 games this season and is the first player in Colorado/Quebec Nordiques history since Wendel Clark in 1994-95 to have a point in the first 10 games of a season.

Goalie Pavel Francouz will start for the Avalanche, who will try for their 11th consecutive regular-season home win. They are 4-0-0 this season and haven't lost at home in the regular season since the Ducks defeated them 5-3 on March 15.

Anaheim will try to avoid its fourth consecutive loss; it has been outscored 10-3 in three defeats after opening the season 6-2-0.

Defenseman Erik Gudbranson will make his Anaheim debut after being acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday for forward Andreas Martinsen and a seventh-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. He was paired with Hampus Lindholm during the morning skate Saturday.


Players to watch

Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler, who has five points (two goals, three assists) in 11 games this season, needs one goal to pass Scott Niedermayer (60) for the most by a defenseman in Anaheim history.

Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 15 games against the Ducks.


They said it

"It's going to be a test. I don't care if you have won six or seven in a row or lost six or seven in a row, or whatever you have going on. It's a test every night. That's where you have to build your discipline, that you're up for it every night." -- Ducks coach Dallas Eakins

"When you can get a few wins, it's always good to build momentum. There's still stuff we can clean up. That's encouraging for us, we're winning games and we're not always playing our best." -- Avalanche forward J.T. Compher


Ducks projected lineup

Nick Ritchie -- Ryan Getzlaf - Troy Terry

Rickard Rakell -- Adam Henrique -- Jakob Silfverberg

Max Comtois -- Sam Steel - Max Jones

Devin Shore -- Derek Grant -- Carter Rowney

Hampus Lindholm -- Erik Gudbranson

Brendan Guhle -- Cam Fowler

Jacob Larsson -- Korbinian Holzer

John Gibson

Ryan Miller

Scratched: Nicolas Deslauriers, Michael Del Zotto

Injured: Ondrej Kase (upper body), Josh Manson (lower body)


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- J.T. Compher

Joonas Donskoi -- Nazem Kadri -- Andre Burakovsky

Colin Wilson -- Tyson Jost -- Valeri Nichushkin

Matt Nieto -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Matt Calvert

Erik Johnson -- Samuel Girard

Cale Makar - Ian Cole

Ryan Graves -- Nikita Zadorov

Pavel Francouz

Philipp Grubauer

Injured: Mikko Rantanen (lower body)

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Vladislav Kamenev


Status report

Manson was placed on injured reserve to make room for Gudbranson on the roster. … Manson and Kase each was injured in a 2-1 loss at the Dallas Stars on Thursday.


Stat pack

Anaheim is 2-for-27 (6.3 percent, 30th in the NHL) on the power play this season. … Makar, who scored his first NHL regular-season goal in a 6-1 win at the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday, has three points (one goal, two assists) in a three-game point streak. 

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