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Ducks score six in second period to beat Avalanche

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- Frustrated by a four-game losing streak and needing a win to stay in first place in the Pacific Division, the Anaheim Ducks scored six times in the second period and defeated the Colorado Avalanche 6-4 on Friday at Pepsi Center.

Anaheim (44-16-7) maintained its lead in the Pacific Division after the second-place San Jose Sharks (44-17-7) defeated the New York Islanders 4-3. Each team has 95 points, but the Ducks have played one fewer game.

"I wasn't anticipating that," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said of the high-scoring game. "I was surely hoping they wouldn't get four [goals]. When you're struggling and you get a win, it's just like a monkey off your back, and you start relaxing and start playing better."

The teams hadn't played each other since opening night when the Avalanche skated to a 6-1 win, a game the Ducks hadn't forgotten.

"We talked about Colorado the past two days, the first game how they embarrassed us," Boudreau said. "We wanted to more than make up for that."

Despite the loss, Colorado (43-19-5) remained in second place in the Central Division with 91 points, one more than the Chicago Blackhawks (38-15-14), who lost 3-2 to the Nashville Predators.

The Avalanche thought they had closed within 6-5 with 6:08 to play, but Nathan MacKinnon poked the puck out of the air with a high stick. The goal was immediately waved off and the call stood following a video review.

"This one stings a little bit, but we're not feeling sorry for ourselves," captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "We'll get right back at it."

The Ducks outscored the Avalanche 6-3 in a wild second period to take a 6-4 lead.

"I've never been in a period where we scored six goals," Boudreau said. "We kept saying, 'Shoot the puck, shoot the puck,' because it had eyes tonight. You've got to take advantage because we've had too many nights where goalies stood on their head against us."

Said Avalanche coach Patrick Roy: "We just couldn't stop the bleeding."

Jamie McGinn's power-play goal at 5:21 of the period put the Avalanche ahead 2-1, but the Ducks responded with four consecutive goals on seven shots in a 3:19 span for a 5-2 lead.

"We did a lot of good things," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "We did the right things in the second period and got rewarded for it. It's one of those things. We started working hard in the first period, and it carried over. It's a good sign."

Kyle Palmieri scored twice in 47 seconds, breaking in alone on goalie Semyon Varlamov at 7:47 and putting in the rebound of Hampus Lindholm's wrist shot at 8:34. Palmieri started the play leading to his second goal when he beat Avalanche defenseman Nick Holden for a loose puck behind the net.

Corey Perry made it 4-2 at 9:40 with a shot from the right circle on a 2-on-1 rush, and Ben Lovejoy was credited with a goal at 11:53 when he fired a shot from the right point that went off the end boards; the puck caromed off Varlamov's back and bounced inside the right post.

"In between periods Dan Winnik, from across the room, said, 'Shoot some off the end boards because they're very lively,' " Lovejoy said. "All I was trying to do was create a rebound off the end boards and got a lucky bounce."

Roy replaced Varlamov, who allowed five goals on 24 shots, with Jean-Sebastien Giguere after Lovejoy's goal, his fourth of the season and first in 23 games.

The Avalanche responded with two goals in 33 seconds. McGinn scored again on the power play at 18:08 off a rebound of defenseman Erik Johnson's shot for his 17th goal of the season. Landeskog skated through the goalmouth and backhanded the puck under the left arm of Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller at 18:41 to make it 5-4.

The Ducks came right back and scored with 48.8 seconds to play in the period. Mathieu Perreault eluded two defenders in the high slot and put a shot through several bodies and into the net.

"The thing that I was very proud of, it was a 5-2 game and all of a sudden we made it a 5-4 game," Roy said. "I saw them putting their fourth line (on the ice) and I put out my first line. I thought it was the perfect scenario. We had the momentum, the building was loud. And then they scored. It's funny how it is."

"We talked about it all year, when we score or they score, you have to have a good rebound shift, have a good follow-up shift," Landeskog said. "We let them take it right back and take the game over. The building was buzzing; I don't think I ever heard it that loud. Too bad it was short-lived."

Colorado's John Mitchell, who signed a three-year, $5.4 million contract extension before the game, opened the scoring at 12:25 of the first period. It was his eighth goal of the season and second in three games since he replaced Paul Stastny (back injury) on a line with Landeskog and MacKinnon.

"We obviously gave up too many odd-man chances," Mitchell said. "You can't expect to give them that many 2-on-1s, 3-on-2s, and win a game. They've got a very potent offense. We just have to tighten up out there obviously."

Hiller made 34 saves to help the Ducks end their four-game skid (0-2-2). Giguere stopped eight of nine shots he faced.

Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler sustained a lower-body injury in the second period and didn't return. Boudreau said Fowler's status is day-to-day.

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