Both the Anaheim Ducks and Colorado Avalanche have postseason aspirations, but neither team has been playing like much of a contender lately.
They'll match up for the second time this season on Saturday, when the Ducks seek to end their recent road woes versus an Avalanche club hoping to avoid a fourth straight loss overall.
Anaheim, the Stanley Cup champion two seasons ago, has reached the playoffs four times in the previous five seasons. But the Ducks (24-22-5) have won back-to-back contests only once since Dec. 11 and have dropped seven of their last 10 games.
Colorado (23-25-1) has lost four of the first five contests in a season-high eight-game homestand, allowing a season high in goals in Thursday night's 7-4 defeat to Toronto.
Thursday's defeat kept the Avalanche last in the Northwest Division, and near the bottom of the West. They held the eighth playoff spot in the conference standings entering January, but are just 4-8-0 this month.
"We're just over halfway and we know how crucial games are at this point in the year," left wing Ryan Smyth said. "If we want to get ourselves back in the playoff mix, we have to find ways to win."
In the first meeting this season between these teams, Teemu Selanne scored twice for Anaheim in a 4-1 home win on Nov. 24. He has 25 goals and 54 points in 50 career games versus the Avalanche, who he played for from 2003-04.
Selanne's current club, though, has lost seven of its last eight trips (1-5-2) to Colorado since Nov. 18, 2003.
Anaheim has been unable to get into an offensive groove recently, setting a season high in goals in Tuesday's 7-3 win at Phoenix then falling 3-2 to visiting Chicago on Wednesday night.
Rookie Bobby Ryan pushed his season-best point streak to six games (five goals, two assists) with his team high-tying 17th goal, but the Ducks were held to two tallies or fewer for the 23rd time overall.
"We just needed a few more bounces," said forward Travis Moen, who scored for the second straight game. "We just didn't quite get the win."
Winning away from home has been even more troublesome for Anaheim, which is 11-11-2 overall on the road and plays 10 of its next 14 there. It has averaged 2.6 goals, while going 4-9-1 as a visitor since the start of December.
"I think this is going to be the statement for ourselves," Selanne told the Ducks' official Web site on Thursday. "We are going to take a huge step forward in those away games."
Selanne expects to make similar progress, as he's likely to make his second straight appearance following a 17-game absence with a lacerated thigh.
Colorado All-Star Milan Hejduk scored twice Thursday, while John-Michael Liles added a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who've dropped three in a row and six of their last seven overall following a three-game winning streak from Jan. 6-10.
"We battled the whole game, but came away with nothing," Hejduk said.
Anaheim has won five of the last six matchups against Colorado.