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Colorado Avalanche Game Day: Avalanche hope to ground the Ducks in Anaheim

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Colorado currently sits two points ahead of Anaheim in the wildcard standings.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Anaheim Ducks Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Avalanche mosey into the Honda Center tonight after picking up a point on Friday night against the defending Stanley Cup champions, Washington Capitals. The Avs have yet to win a game this season when playing in OT and are now tied for second in the league with 4 OT losses - not a statistic to be thrilled about.

This will be the only time the Avalanche travel to Orange County this year with the home team prevailing in each of the last 5 matchups between the two clubs.

The Ducks are a bit of an anomaly so far this season as their current standings suggest a much better team than advertised. They give up close to the league average in goals against but struggle to put the puck in the net on a nightly basis with a goals for average of 2.05 a game. In the last week the Ducks have managed to beat the best team in the league, Nashville Predators, while losing to the worst team in the league, LA Kings.

This west coast road trip should give the Avalanche a nice boost of confidence and help keep pace in the demanding central division. Coming home without 6 points to their name would be a bitter pill to swallow.


Colorado Avalanche

J.T. Compher is close to returning but it’s doubtful he suits up tonight. There’s been lots of speculation on who he replaces in the lineup when healthy. The Avalanche will likely try and send Marko Dano down to the Eagles leaving the decision between Bourque, Dries, and Kamenev.

Dries has been a great addition this year and is ranked 7th on the team in CF% at 48.65. On the other hand, both Vladislav Kamenev and Gabriel Bourque rank last on the team in possession numbers. Compher is great on the penalty kill so you’d expect him to take back that role while Kamenev is getting time on the second PP but coach loves him some Gabe Bourque.

No word yet whether Zadorov is still in the dog house. He was a healthy scratch in favor of Mark Barberio... yikes. Big Z has had his moments this year with crushing hits but his defensive play has been susceptible at best often clearing pucks to the other teams stick and looking lost on the breakout.

Forwards

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen

Tyson Jost - Alexander Kerfoot - Colin Wilson

Sheldon Dries - Carl Soderberg - Matt Calvert

Sven Andrighetto - Vladislav Kamenev - Gabriel Bourque

Defense

Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson

Ian Cole - Tyson Barrie

Patrik Nemeth - Mark Barberio


Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks are led by Swede native Rickard Rakell with 3 goals and 13 points. His 4.8% shooting percentage states that a positive regression is bound to happen to soon.

The scoring struggles for the Ducks have been apparent all season. Pontus Aberg leads the team in goals with 6 and only one other player has 5 or more goals. The loss of Corey Perry has been detrimental to the teams offensive production.

Injuries have also played a significant role in Anaheim. Maxime Comtois, a second round draft pick by the Ducks in 2017, had a great start to his rookie season prior to going out with an LBI in late October. He’s currently on a conditioning stint with the San Diego Gulls and is eligible to return to the Ducks for tonights game.

Cam Fowler is out indefinitely after he was hit in the face with a puck during the Ducks Monday win over the Predators. Prior to the injury he was third on the team in points so this is another big blow for the Ducks.

Forwards

Rickard Rakell - Ryan Getzlaf - Pontus Aberg

Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

Nick Ritchie - Adam Henrique - Ondrej Kase

Brian Gibbons - Kalle Kossila - Kiefer Sherwood

Defense

Hampus Lindholm - Jacob Larsson

Andy Welinski - Josh Manson

Marcus Pettersson - Brandon Montour


Goaltenders

Philipp Grubauer will get his second straight start after dropping a 3-2 OT decision against his former Washington teammates on Friday night. He has a 3-1-2 record this season with a 3.46 goals-against average and .893 save percentage.

Opposite crease from Grubs will most likely be John Gibson. Gibson has been lights out at times this season looking almost unbeatable. He owns a 2-3-2 record with a .910 save percentage and 2.71 goals-against average.