Avalanche at Ducks, Game 17 Preview

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Avalanche had a rough go of it yesterday, what with the entire defensive corps missing the flight to LA.

The team did their best to compensate for the loss of all 7 defensemen by pulling players from a local rec league to sub in. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out.

Word has it that the Avalanche blueliners flew out this morning and will be available for tonight's game against the Anaheim Ducks. Here's to hoping.

Overall, the Avs have played well against the Ducks, holding a 32-24-13 record. However, the majority of those losses have come since the 2004-2005 lockout. Since 2005, the Ducks have won 17 of 24 meetings, including this season's 3-0 pummeling loss in Denver earlier this month. There is a bit of silver lining here. Colorado has pretty much owned the Kings lately, and since yesterday was such a fiasco, the only explanation is that the full moon switched polarities on the Earth, creating an alternate reality.

Given that we're temporarily in Opposite Land, it's safe to assume that the ridiculously hot Ducks will come into tonight's game as cold as Uranus, Teemu will suddenly feel like he actually is 42, and that "rookie" goaltender won't be so Fas-- (nope, not going there).

Of course, the Avs could have just totally and utterly sucked against the Kings and will continue to be dominated by the Ducks. Tomato-tomahto.

Expected Lineup (well, what we saw yesterday, anyway):

Gabriel Landeskog - Paul Stastny - David Jones
Jamie McGinn - Matt Duchene - P.A. Parenteau
Cody McLeod - John Mitchell - Milan Hejduk
Patrick Bordeleau - Mark Olver - Chuck Kobasew
(Aaron Palushaj might replace Dario's BFF, tho, cuz he was purrty bad yesterday. So was Jones. 4x4, bb)

Ryan O'Byrne - Matt Hunwick
Greg Zanon - Stefan Elliott
Jan Hejda - Tyson Barrie
(Shane O'Brien might get the nod, but probably not)

JS Giguere
Semyon Varlamov (backup)

What to watch for:

Help on the back end: Cam Fowler has been cleared to play after three weeks on the IR, but Coach Bruce has not announced whether or not he will be in the lineup. Fowler left a Feb. 2 game against the Kings early in the second after being run into the boards by Jarret Stoll.

Facing demons: Some players will be facing former teams tonight, which always gives guys that much more of a desire to win.

  • Coach Sacco has already announced that JS Giguere will get net duty against the team he carried to a Stanley Cup Championship. Shane "for the ladies" O'Brien also played for the Ducks, but he's probably too busy checking out the babes in Newport Beach to worry about sticking it to the team that drafted him. He might be eating nachos anyway.
  • On the other side of the court, we have Daniel Winnik who was traded away to a team that didn't re-sign him, but he has since found a new home in Anaheim where he scored a whole bunch of goals to start the season but has since totally cooled off, registering only two points in the last ten games. Then there's that Selanne guy. That's all I have to say about that.

The Power of C: In his first game back, Gabe Landeskog picked up an assist and had 19 minutes of ice time. He wasn't quite the force we'd seen before his noggin got crunched, but there were flashes. It's only going to get better.

Siesta: The Ducks have been sitting on their tail feathers for six days, having played their last game on February 18. Either they come out hungry or they come out flat. Time will tell.

Food for thought:

Winnik, on the Avalanche:

"We need to gap-up as much as we can and take time and space away from quick teams. [The Avalanche] is not the biggest team out there. Usually it kind of kills their will, in a sense."

Game Time: 6:00 pm MT, 1:00 am GMT; TV: ALT; Radio: ALT

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