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At the Rink: Ducks vs. Avalanche

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- It's hard to fathom an Anaheim Ducks lineup that features high-scoring forwards like Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry having problems scoring goals.

Not that it has mattered much, since the Ducks lead the Western Conference with a 9-3-0 record heading into their game Sunday against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center.

The Ducks scored three goals in the first three games of their four-game road trip and won two of them, thanks to stingy defense and strong goaltending from Frederik Andersen and John Gibson.

Perry is among NHL leaders with 10 goals, but he went three games without a point before scoring a goal and an assist Friday in the Ducks 2-1 shootout win against the Dallas Stars.

Getzlaf has gone four games without a goal, Ryan Kesler has gone five games without a goal, and Emerson Etem and Jakob Silfverberg are still looking to score their first goals despite playing in all 12 games.

Left wing Patrick Maroon has returned to the lineup and his presence should help. He played Friday after missing eight games because of a knee injury and will skate on the Ducks top line with Getzlaf and Perry.

Gibson is expected to start against the Avalanche. Andersen didn't take part in an optional skate Sunday.

The Avalanche didn't skate Sunday after losing 3-2 in a shootout Saturday to the St. Louis Blues, but coach Patrick Roy said after the game that goalie Semyon Varlamov would start against the Ducks.

The Avalanche (3-4-5) have at least one point in six consecutive games (2-0-4) and are opening a three-game homestand.

Here are the projected lineups:


Patrick Maroon - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Devante Smith-Pelly

Matt Beleskey - William Karlsson - Jakob Silfverberg

Emerson Etem - Nate Thompson - Tim Jackman

Cam Fowler - Sami Vatanen

Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin

Clayton Stoner - Josh Manson

John Gibson

Frederik Andersen

Scratched: Dany Heatley, Rickard Rakell

Injured: Bryan Allen (lower body), Mark Fistric (back), Ben Lovejoy (broken finger), Kyle Palmieri (sprained ankle)


Gabriel Landeskog - Matt Duchene - Ryan O'Reilly

Jamie McGinn - Nathan MacKinnon - Jarome Iginla

Alex Tanguay - John Mitchell - Dennis Everberg

Cody McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Maxime Talbot

Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson

Nate Guenin - Tyson Barrie

Brad Stuart - Nick Holden

Semyon Varlamov

Reto Berra

Scratched: Daniel Briere, Zach Redmond

Injured: Patrick Bordeleau (back surgery), Ryan Wilson (shoulder), Jesse Winchester (concussion)

Status report: Allen, who has yet to play this season, is on a conditioning assignment with Norfolk in the American Hockey League ... Fistric sustained a lower back injury Thursday against the Blues and might miss as many as two weeks ... Palmieri continues to skate in Anaheim and could be back within a week.

Who's hot: The Ducks penalty killers have killed 12 consecutive penalties in the past three games ... Gibson has stopped 81 of 84 shots in his past three starts ... MacKinnon has three goals and one assist in a two-game scoring streak ... Johnson has one goal and four assists in a three-game scoring streak ... Varlamov has stopped 116 of 120 shots in the past three games.

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