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Giguere returns to Anaheim as Avalanche face Ducks

by Deborah Francisco
AVALANCHE (20-18-1) at DUCKS (10-20-6)


Last 10:
Colorado 7-3-0; Anaheim 3-6-1

Season Series:
This is the first of four meetings between the Avalanche and the Ducks this season. The Ducks have won 15 of the last 17 meetings, including the last six.

Big Story:
The Avalanche will face the Ducks on Saturday without star center Matt Duchene in the lineup as Colorado announced on Friday that the 20-year-old will miss at least four weeks with a knee injury he sustained Thursday night against the Coyotes.

"He's without a doubt one of the best players in the League," rookie forward Gabriel Landeskog said. "It's definitely a big blow to us, but at the same time we have a good team in here."

Team Scope:

Despite Colorado's bad news regarding Duchene, things have been looking bright for the Avalanche lately with six wins in seven games, as well as eight wins in the month of December -- tying a franchise record for the month. Colorado was happy to grab a few more points on Thursday night in a tight 3-2 victory over the Coyotes. Landeskog notched the game-winning goal in that contest.

"When the games are tight, we come out with our best and are pretty confident," defenseman Stefan Elliott said.

David Jones may return to the Avs' lineup on Saturday and will likely replace the injured Duchene.

The Ducks continue a six-game homestand. They dropped the first game with a 5-2 loss to the red-hot Canucks.

The Ducks gave up two goals in both the first and second periods and were unable to come back from the four-goal deficit.

"You can't play from behind on a team like that because they know how to win and close games out," said Bobby Ryan, who scored a third period goal for the Ducks. "They just kept pushing and outplayed us in every aspect."

The Ducks are 3-7-2 under coach Bruce Boudreau.

"In the games we've lost, we've beaten ourselves," Boudreau said. "All five of Vancouver's goals, they were based on turnovers."

Who's Hot:
Elliott, a rookie, has notched 8 points this season for the Avalanche with 3 points in his last five games … Teemu Selanne continues to find the net despite the Ducks' offensive struggles. Selanne has 5 points in as many games and 36 on the season (11 goals).

Injury Report:
Colorado will be without Duchene, but Jones (groin) is likely to return to the active roster and forward Brandon Yip (groin) is getting closer as well. Forwards Peter Mueller (concussion) and defenseman Ryan Wilson (head) are on injured reserve. … Jason Blake (forearm) is out for Anaheim, while Saku Koivu (groin) is day-to-day. Right wing Devante Smith-Pelly suffered a broken bone in his left foot Monday night while playing for Canada against Finland at the World Junior Championship and is expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks.

Stat Pack:
The Ducks have not won consecutive games since Oct. 17.

Puck Drop:
Colorado netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere returns to the Honda Center for the first time as an opposing player on Saturday night. He played 447 career games with the Ducks and posted a record of 206-163-59 in that span. He remains the all-time franchise leader (minimum 100 games) in wins, career goals-against average, shutouts, appearances and minutes played (25,646).

"This game has been on my mind all year. I've been looking at the calendar. The first game I looked up was when we would play in Anaheim," Giguere said. "I've been looking forward to it since the beginning of the year and I'm hoping the reaction is going to be good."

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