Game 67 Preview: Avs vs. Ducks

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Avs (43-18-5) take on the Anaheim Ducks (43-16-7) tonight in a game surrounded with jokes I'm sure no Anaheim fan has ever heard before

Tonight, we're back to the game that started it all.
Tonight, we need top games from star to grunt.
Tonight, the plexiglass is going to fall.
Tonight, the Avs go out on a Duck hunt.

It's two teams on opposite trajectories as Anaheim, former President's trophy leaders, come in having lost 2 straight, gone 3-5-2 in their last 10 games, and having taken an entirely silly beatdown from the Calgary Flames two days ago. It wasn't 7 goals in a period to the Islanders, but it wasn't good. Meanwhile the Avalanche are 7-3-0 in their last ten against stiff opposition, and have found themselves ahead of the Blackhawks for second in the division.

Anaheim has seen a commanding lead over the Pacific dissipate to a single point with 16 games to play for both them and San Jose. You think they want this one?

Because in case you don't, you may recall the season opened with a 6-1 beatdown of both the Ducks and the barrier between Roy and Boudreau, so expect to see that clip replayed until you're physically ill today. Anaheim probably doesn't want to leave Denver without getting some of that egg off their collective face.

Know thine enemy

Pretty sweet #fancystats update on the Ducks from our friends at Anaheim Calling right here. Ryan Getzlaf leads the team with 72 points in 66 games which is kind of good. However, it falls off in a hurry. Corey Perry has 66 in 66 (35 goals!), then Nick Bonino has 42 in 62.

The downside to that is it's very do-able to beat a team that's only really firing on one line, if you have your defensive best out there, but Paul Stastny is doubtful to play tonight. The Avs are short an entire top-six forward line now between Alex Tanguay (season-ending surgery), Paul Stastny (back, DTD) and P.A. Parenteau (MCL, out for at least regular season). Roy doesn't want to rush Stastny back and the Avs are winning, so, sure, go for it. Let him get healthy.

Colorado, on the other hand, have four guys with 50+ points (Matt Duchene leads the way with 62 in 63), and four 20-goal scorers (Ryan O'Reilly is out in front with 25).

Avs lines (maybe)

Jamie McGinn - Matt Duchene - Ryan O'Reilly
Gabriel Landeskog - John Mitchell - Nathan MacKinnon
Cody McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Max Talbot
Patrick Bordeleau - Brad Malone - Paul Carey

Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson
Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie
Nate Guenin - Andre Benoit

Semyon Varlamov
J.S. Giguere

Those bottom few defensemen, and forwards too honestly, are subject to change. The team didn't practice yesterday and nobody thought to ask during Roy's media availability who would be in.

Motivational Viewing

TV:

Fox Sports West and Altitude 2 | 7:00pm MDT | 9:0opm MDT | 01:00 GMT

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