The Anaheim Ducks might be happy to see their franchise-record nine-game road trip come to an end. They'll probably be thrilled to cap it off with a fifth consecutive win on Tuesday night against the Colorado Avalanche, whom they have not beaten on the road in more than five years.
The reigning Stanley Cup champion Ducks (31-22-7) opened the extended jaunt with four consecutive defeats that extended their losing streak to a season-high six games (0-5-1). They have since regrouped to win four in a row, including a 3-2 victory at NHL-leading Detroit on Sunday.
Anaheim hasn't won five consecutive road games since posting a team-record seven-game winning streak away from the Honda Center from Nov. 28-Dec. 13, 2006.
The Ducks will try to get closer to that mark by winning at the Pepsi Center for the first time since a 5-3 win on Jan. 9, 2003. They have dropped six games in a row there (0-4-2), with four defeats decided by one-goal margins.
Anaheim, though, beat the Avalanche 2-1 at home on Dec. 19 in the first of four season meetings.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere hasn't fared well in Denver, going 0-4-1 with a 2.55 goals-against average. However, he has been a big part of the Ducks' recent success with a 3-0-1 record, 0.74 GAA and .972 save percentage with two shutouts in his last four starts.
|Scott Niedermayer, right, and the Ducks wrap up a nine-game road trip tonight in Denver. Anaheim has won four in a row but have not defeated the Avalanche on the road in over five years. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
He made 27 saves Sunday and appeared to allow the tying goal with 40 seconds to go in the third period before the referee called it off due to incidental contact with the goaltender by the Red Wings' Tomas Holmstrom.
"It was a tough call. A lot of times they don't call it," Giguere said. "It took a lot of guts to make that call. On the replay you can see his skate is in the crease. And he was preventing me from doing what I've got to do."
The Ducks are also getting contributions from rookie Ryan Carter, who has scored three times in the last two games after failing to score in his first 27. The center assisted on a goal by Chris Pronger in the last matchup with Colorado (30-21-5).
He'll try to continue his strong play and help Anaheim end the trip, which included a stop at The White House last week, on a positive note. After facing the Avs, the Ducks begin a seven-game homestand on Friday against Pacific Division-leading Dallas.
Colorado is getting closer to being full strength after missing Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth and Paul Stastny for considerable time.
The Avalanche hope to have at least Stastny, the team's leader with 49 points, back against Anaheim after he missed 10 games recovering from an appendectomy. The center is questionable, while Sakic (hernia surgery) and Smyth (fractured right ankle) are less likely to play.
Colorado was able to overcome those absences Saturday, winning 6-2 at Vancouver as the line of Marek Svatos, Tyler Arnason and Wojtek Wolski combined for three goals and six assists.
"We're moving the puck very well," said Svatos, who had two goals and an assist. "When we get the puck, we hold the puck a little longer. We don't just throw it away. They have great vision and always find me in front of the net. (Arnason) and (Wolski) are strong guys so it's hard to take the puck away from them and that's what they do, so I try to be in front of the net and it's working out lately."
Svatos, who has a team-high 24 goals, has been held pointless in the last four games against Anaheim.