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Ducks visit Denver to meet Avalanche

by Adam Kimelman /

DUCKS (0-0-0) at AVALANCHE (0-0-0)


Season series: The Anaheim Ducks won two of the three games last season, including the only meeting in Denver. On Feb. 6, Viktor Fasth stopped all 31 shots to record his first NHL shutout in a 3-0 victory. The Colorado Avalanche won the teams' most recent meeting, a 4-1 win in Anaheim on April 10.

Big Story: Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon, the first pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, will make his NHL debut against an Anaheim team that finished second in the Western Conference last season.

Team Scope:

Ducks: The Ducks will start the season with two defensemen expected to be in their top six on injured reserve, but will see the return of one they didn't expect to have for opening night.

Defenseman Francois Beauchemin, who had reconstructive surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right knee in May, likely will be on the ice when the team opens the season. Beauchemin said after practice Monday that managing his days off has been a key in his rapid return.

"It's amazing what one day off makes," he told the team's website. "I took one day off Thursday and felt great. I had [Sunday] off, and [Monday] was a really good day. Going through an injury like I did, a day off is really the key to make sure you recover well."

Avalanche: Nate Guenin has had NHL opportunities before, but after spending all of last season in the American Hockey League, he's hoping to spend some time in Colorado this season.

Guenin was a surprise addition to the Avalanche's opening-night roster. He'll play Wednesday against the Ducks paired with Tyson Barrie while Ryan Wilson recovers from a knee injury. Nick Holden is scheduled to replace Guenin in the lineup for the home opener Friday against the Nashville Predators. Beyond that, however, nothing appears decided.

"If I'm in the lineup [Wednesday] I'll be excited and do everything I can to help out," Guenin told the Denver Post on Tuesday, prior to coach Patrick Roy announcing the opening-night lineup. "I've always felt this is where I belong and it's just up to me to get here."

Guenin, 30, had 24 points in 66 games with the Norfolk Admirals last season, and last played in the NHL on March 21, 2012, as a member of the Ducks.

Injury report: The Ducks will be without defensemen Sheldon Souray (wrist) and Luca Sbisa (ankle). Forwards Jakub Silfverberg (lower body) and Emerson Etem (leg) also are out. Forward Peter Holland is questionable with a lower-body injury. … Wilson is out with a knee injury for the Avalanche.

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