The banged up Avalanche (4-5-0) continue their 4-game homestand tonight against the Anaheim Ducks (6-1-1) who have come out of the gate flying this short season. Since their Cup days, the Ducks have primarily been a 1 line team with Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and Teemu Selanne accounting for the majority of their scoring. So far in this young weird season the Ducks have enjoyed scoring from 3 lines, led by former Avalanche forward Daniel Winnik's 5 goals in 8 games. Another former Av, Teemu Selanne, leads his club with 9 points in 8 games. The Ducks are embarking on a season long 6-game road trip after a big win against San Jose Monday in SoCal.
An intriguing situation is developing in goal for the Ducks as 30 year-old rookie Viktor Fasth looks less a back-up and more like the real deal. He has yet to lose and is sporting a sparkling 1.30 GAA and .946 save%, allowing just 4 goals in 3 games. Anaheim starter Jonas Hiller, the man who displaced Avalanche back-up Jean-Sebastien Giguere in the Duck's crease, is off to a less stellar start allowing 3.54 GAA with a 871 save%, but going 3-1-1 in the process. It's not a back-to-back situation so it's likely Hiller tonight. Varlamov will be in net for the home squad.
As of this writing, there is a chance the newest member of the Avalanche organization, Aaron Palushaj, claimed off waivers from Montreal yesterday, could see action tonight pending a physical. The Denver Post also reported that David Jones should return after missing two games with a knee injury - not that the good doctor has done much this season other than collect his totally market accurate paycheck. Now that Stastny seems to be possibly turning the corner from ineptitude onto mediocre street, maybe he can cajole Jones onto the bang bang bus along with him.
On a completely self-indulgent note, I wouldn't mind seeing Sgarbossa tried out on a line with any of the top-six guys, or even Hejduk. Mr. 1,000 games hasn't enjoyed a pure set-up pivot since Stastny was worth $6,600,000 (wait, how much?). Hejduk one-timing passes from Sgarbossa would be utterly adorable.