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Ducks roll over Avs, 6-2

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com
DENVER -- The Anaheim Ducks need every point they can muster down the stretch to stay in contention for a playoff berth in the jam-packed Western Conference, so they weren't about to take the struggling Colorado Avalanche for granted Friday night.

The Ducks spotted the Avalanche a 1-0 first-period lead, then roared back for a convincing 6-2 win at the Pepsi Center.

"These are all must-wins for us," said Ryan Getzlaf, who had a goal and two assists. "We can't afford to take anybody lightly in this League. We were maybe victims of that to start this game, but it's all about how you finish."
       
The Ducks scored four times in the second period for their fifth victory in six games to remain two points out of the eighth and final postseason berth with 14 games to play.
       
Saku Koivu and Corey Perry each added a goal and an assist for the Ducks, while Teemu Selanne and Luca Sbisa each chipped in with two assists.
       
"We started playing hockey," Getzlaf said of the second-period outburst. "We were sitting back and playing a shinny kind of game. They're a good hockey team and we didn't necessarily give them enough respect in that first period. The guys did a great job turning it around in the second."
       
The loss was the seventh in a row (0-6-1) for the free-falling Avalanche, who have lost eight consecutive home games (0-7-1). Colorado has dropped 17 of 18 overall (1-15-2) since Jan. 26 and is in serious danger of finishing with the worst record in the NHL.
       
Koivu and Getzlaf scored early in the second period to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead before David Jones tied the game for the Avalanche at 4:52 during a 4-on-4 situation.
       
The tie didn't last long. Twenty-eight seconds after Jones converted Paul Stastny's pass for his team-leading 24th goal, Perry put the Ducks ahead for good at 5:20 during the same 4-on-4 situation.
       
Getzlaf knocked down Matt Duchene along the right-wing boards, scooped up the puck and fed Perry, who drilled a 30-footer behind goalie Brian Elliott for a 3-2 lead.
       
"Getzie made a great play on the wall," Perry said. "He knocked Duchene off the puck. He created the turnover, and I was just hollering for it and he found me. I just took a wrist shot and it found its way in.
       
"Going forward, it's going to be a grind right to the playoffs. It's playoff hockey right now, and that's how we have to play. We know what's at stake and we're going out there and we're trying to get the two points."
       
The Ducks made it 4-2 on another 4-on-4 situation at 10:13 when Brandon McMillan passed across to Dan Sexton on a 2-on-1 rush with Milan Hejduk the lone Avalanche defender back.
       
Bobby Ryan and Brad Winchester finished off the Avalanche with third-period goals.
       
"We made a decision between the first and second (periods) that we're going to have to play a lot harder," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "We understand that when you're on the road, there's a certain style that you have to play. We can't be a cute hockey club. Our hockey club thrives on our forecheck and on our ability to get on the puck and to play as much of the game as possible in the offensive zone. Once we started to grind, things started to go positive for us.
       
"We can't afford to miss points when everybody is winning around us also. That's the situation we're in and we're going to continue to push and push."
       
For the Avalanche, it was another case of failing to play more than one decent period.
       
"I thought we started out fine," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. "It was a good first period, probably one of the better first periods we've had at home in a long time. Then we gave up a couple of goals. We tie it up and we get back in the game, but then we had some breakdowns and they capitalized on our mistakes. That's kind of the way the game went."
       
The Avalanche grabbed a 1-0 lead with 43.6 seconds remaining in the opening period when Ryan Wilson fed Ryan O'Reilly for a breakaway goal against Dan Ellis.
       
The Ducks tied the game 34 seconds into the second period. Selanne was at the left side of the Colorado net when he passed to Koivu driving unchecked down the opposite side.
       
Getzlaf drew a Jay McClement tripping penalty and converted Perry's goalmouth pass 42 seconds later for a power-play goal at 3:26.
       
As if the injury-riddled Avalanche don't have enough problems, Hejduk hurt his shoulder in the second period and Stastny suffered a back injury early in the third. Neither player returned and will be re-evaluated Saturday.
       
"What am I going to say? What else can I say about the injuries?" Sacco said.
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