Avalanche-Mighty Ducks Preview
GAME: Colorado Avalanche (16-8-5-1) at Anaheim Mighty Ducks (10-12-4-5).
TIME: Friday, 10:30 p.m. EST.
Paul Kariya's wrist injury is going to prevent the main attraction from
taking place Friday at the Arrowhead Pond.
While Teemu Selanne will return to Anaheim for the first time in a Colorado
Avalanche uniform, Kariya will not play against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks when
the teams meet for the second time this season.
Kariya spent his first nine NHL seasons with the Mighty Ducks, serving as
team captain from 1996-2003. He holds virtually every offensive team record,
including goals (300), assists (369), points (669) and games played (606).
It came as a shock to the Mighty Ducks and the rest of the NHL when Kariya
decided to take less money from the Avalanche so he could play with good friend
Teemu Selanne on the same team again. Kariya's one-year, $1.2 million contract
keeps him under the league average and allows him to be a free agent again next
Selanne and Kariya had been friends since they first met as teammates with
Anaheim in 1996, and played five seasons together before Selanne was traded to
San Jose in 2001.
Friday was expected to be Kariya and Selanne's first game in Anaheim as
Avalanche teammates, but Kariya hasn't played since spraining his right wrist
against Dallas on Nov. 15. Colorado's next scheduled game at Anaheim is Jan.
The Avalanche have been playing very well without Kariya, but had an
eight-game unbeaten streak snapped Wednesday with a 3-2 loss to Minnesota.
Captain Joe Sakic scored twice for Colorado, 4-1-4 in its last nine, but
winless in three (0-1-2).
"I think we were very flat and you can't play like that, no matter who you
are playing," Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. "No matter when it is in the
season, you can't come out and get caught flat like that."
Sakic has six goals and 11 assists in his last 11 games and is among the NHL
leaders with 34 points.
Anaheim lost for the fifth time in seven games Sunday, 3-2 to Edmonton.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, last season's playoff MVP, had his personal winless
streak extended to seven (0-5-2). Giguere got the start after a three-game
"It felt better than the last two I played," Giguere said. "There were a
lot of positives in my game and I was seeing the puck a little bit better, but
in the end, a loss is a loss."
Two of Anaheim's top defensemen -- Keith Carney and Sandis Ozolinsh -- could
return Friday. Carney has sat out two games with back spasms while Ozolinsh has
missed four with bruised ribs.