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Game 4 Preview: Avs @ Ducks

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The Avs (1-2-0) head on the road for the first of the season to visit the Anaheim Ducks (0-2-1).

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday night got ugly for the Avs. Up against a struggling Bruins team, the Avs fell behind early and often, giving up six goals. Wednesday night's game is proof that though the Avs' defense may be bandaged, it is far from being healed. While there is more talent on the defense than there was a year ago, the Avs continue to struggle in their transition game and their ability to gain control of the puck in their own zone. Though these problems have been placed upon the shoulders of the defensemen in Colorado for years, perhaps it is time for the young forwards to take responsibility for their fault in the manner.

With a core of so many young offensive talent, it can be easy to forgot the importance of the defensive side of the game and want to light up the highlight reel. But right now, the Avs are filling the highlights with mountains of poor passing in the defensive zone. Atop that, once the team surrenders the puck to the opposing team, they struggle to be aggressive on the puck carrier in the defensive zone and allow the other team to maintain possession and set up goals; a task that does not seem to be difficult for them in the offensive zone. Hopefully Patrick Roy and his staff can find a way for these young players to apply the same strong forecheck they display in the offensive zone in their defensive zone. They will need to do so soon, because a GAA over four will not take this team very far.

Perhaps the road will provide the solution for the Avalanche as they head to California for a two game stink starting in Anaheim. The Avs will once again be facing two teams that are struggling to spark their season in the Ducks and Kings. Both teams are struggling to score, having scored one and two goals respectively in their first three games. The Avs will have to be aggressive defensively in order to keep down the confidence of these under-performing California squads.

LINES

Comeau-Duchene-Iginla

Landeskog-MacKinnon-Tanguay

Rantannen-Soderberg-Rendulic

McLeod-Mitchell-Skille

Beauchemin-Johnson

Zadorov-Barrie

Stuart-Holden

Varlamov

Berra

Scratches: Grigorenko, Gormley, Guenin

NOTES

- Despite his line being one of the better performing lines Wednesday night, Matt Duchene is still without a point on the season. Always the streaky player, we'll see if Duchene can spark some offense to his season on the road.

- Two major bright spots so far this season for the Avalanche have been the two goal scorers from Wednesday night: Gabriel Landeskog and John Mitchell. Besides Nathan MacKinnon's tally on Saturday, they are the only Avalanche players to have scored 5-on-5 in the first three games.

Francois Beauchemin will face his former team for the first time as an Avalanche tonight. This will be the second time he has come to the Honda center as a member of the visiting squad. He did so as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs back in October 2009.

GAME INFO

Game time: 8pm MT

TV: ALT