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Avalanche-Mighty Ducks Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Colorado Avalanche (38-25-6) at Anaheim Mighty Ducks (34-21-12).

TIME: Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. EST.

Colorado Avalanche center Joe Sakic has been moving his way up the NHL's all-time scoring list while trying to make sure his team doesn't drop in the playoff race. He might have to step up even more with the team's leading scorer sidelined.

Sakic looks to help the Avalanche remain ahead of Anaheim in the Western Conference standings when they visit the Mighty Ducks without the injured Alex Tanguay.

Tanguay, who leads the Avalanche with 74 points, including 26 goals, sprained his right knee during the first period of Sunday's 6-5 loss at San Jose. The team said Tuesday that tests revealed no further damage to the knee, and Tanguay is expected be out two-to-four weeks.

Sakic picked up a season-best four points Monday with two goals and two assists in Colorado's 5-0 win over Los Angeles. Sakic's first goal gave him 1,468 career points, moving him past Stan Mikita and into sole possession of 11th place on the all-time list.

His first assist, on Ian Laperriere's second-period goal, moved him past Bryan Trottier for 15th all time with 902.

"It's kind of nice, but I don't think I'm passing anybody else for a while," said Sakic, whose two goals came in a five-minute span in the first period. "I appreciate every moment that it happens."

Perhaps more importantly, Sakic's impressive night helped fifth-place Colorado end a two-game slide and remain two points ahead of the surging Mighty Ducks in the conference standings.

"We need every point we can get right now," Laperriere said. "We knew we needed a huge start. We just kept coming at them. That's one thing we weren't doing at the very beginning. We would take a good start and just maybe sit back, but tonight we went for 60 minutes."

Sakic, who ranks second on the team with 26 goals, 43 assists and 69 points, has four goals and four assists in his last four games.

"That's Joe Sakic. He's been carrying this team for years," Laperriere said. "When it's crucial time, that's where your captain shows up. He's been like that for weeks right now. He knows the games are so important."

The Mighty Ducks kept pace with their third straight win Monday, 2-1 over the Pacific Division-leading Dallas Stars. Samuel Pahlsson scored the tiebreaker with 3:15 left and helped keep Dallas' high-scoring centers Mike Modano and Jason Arnott without a point.

"He's a pro," coach Randy Carlyle said. "That's what he's here for ... (he's) capable of doing those things."

Anaheim, which won for the sixth time in seven games, wrapped up a 3-1-0 road trip.

"We're finding ways to win right now and that's the sign of a good team," goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. "We battled and battled after we fell behind. We used to hang our heads when we got down. Now we work even harder. The way we came back at the end, you can't call that fortunate."

Anaheim has lost five of its last seven meetings with Colorado, including both this season.

STANDINGS: Avalanche - 82 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Northwest Division. Mighty Ducks - 80 points, 2nd place, 13 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Avalanche - Marek Svatos, 32 goals; Tanguay, 48 assists and 74 points; Laperriere, 103 PIM. Mighty Ducks - Teemu Selanne, 29 goals and 65 points; Scott Niedermayer, 44 assists; Todd Fedoruk, 147 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Avalanche - Power play: 19.2 percent (79 for 411), 5th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.4 percent (315 for 373), 7th. Mighty Ducks - Power play: 16.4 percent (65 for 397), 21st. Penalty killing: 84.3 percent (359 for 426), 8th.

GOALTENDERS: Avalanche - Peter Budaj (10-8-4, 2 SO, 2.64 GAA); Vitaly Kolesnik (3-3-0, 3.29). Mighty Ducks - Giguere (22-10-11, 2, 2.53); Ilya Bryzgalov (12-11-1, 1, 2.58).

SEASON SERIES: Avalanche, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 18; Avalanche, 3-2. At Anaheim, Calif., Svatos scored the game-winner with 5:58 left and Sakic had two assists.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Avalanche - 17-17-1 on the road; Mighty Ducks - 20-9-5 at home.

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