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Avalanche clinch Central, wrap up season in Anaheim

by Brian Compton

AVALANCHE (52-22-7) at DUCKS (53-20-8)


Last 10: Colorado 8-1-1; Anaheim 7-2-1

Season series: This is the third and final game between the Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks. The Avalanche earned a 6-1 win on home ice back on Oct. 2, but Anaheim responded with a 6-4 victory at Pepsi Center on March 14.

Big story: Anaheim clinched the top spot in the Western Conference on Saturday night. On Sunday, the Avalanche clinched the Central Division with the St. Louis Blues' 3-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings and will face the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Team Scope:

Avalanche: The Avalanche clinched Sunday because they hold the tiebreaker with more victories in the ROW (regulation/overtime wins) column.

"We are always playing to win," said Avalanche coach Patrick Roy, who will start backup Jean-Sebastien Giguere in goal against the Ducks.

Ducks: Anaheim won its first Western Conference regular-season title Saturday when it earned a point en route to a 4-3 shootout win against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. For good measure, though, the Ducks picked up a second point in the standings when Devante Smith-Pelly scored in the fourth round of the tiebreaker.

It's the first time in franchise history the Ducks have won the Western Conference's regular-season crown.

"They all knew they just needed a point," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau told the team website. "We never talked about it, but you could tell after the game was over, they all knew. Some of them were high-fiving each other. That's a pretty big accomplishment for them. Then, we said, 'Let's go win it in a shootout.'"

Who's hot: Left wing Patrick Bordeleau scored for Colorado on Friday, giving him two goals in his past four games. Ryan O'Reilly has points in five of his past six (two goals, four assists). … Ducks left wing Matt Beleskey has scored in three straight games. Center Daniel Winnik has six points (two goals, four assists) in his past seven and defenseman Hampus Lindholm has three assists in the past four.

Injury report: Colorado center Matt Duchene (knee) is out. Forward Cody McLeod (ankle) and defenseman Cory Sarich (back) are day-to-day. … Ducks right wing Tim Jackman (hand surgery) is out.

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