Ducks-Avalanche Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 11, 2012
The playoff-contending Colorado Avalanche won't get to enjoy the comforts of home ice too often for the rest of the month. Before beginning a road-heavy stretch, the Avalanche will try to pick up some needed points Monday night when they face the Anaheim Ducks, who are hoping to have Corey Perry available to help end their recent scoring woes. Colorado (36-30-4) has aided its quest for a playoff berth by winning seven of 10, including a 4-1 home victory over Anaheim on Feb. 27. "To be in the mix (for the playoffs), that's a good thing," captain Milan Hejduk said. "We only have 12 games left, so it's going to be tough to get in, but I think we have the team to do it." After losing in Nashville on Thursday, the Avalanche bounced back with a 3-2 shootout win over Edmonton at home Saturday, improving to 8-1 in that format as well as 13-4 in games that have gone beyond regulation. "I think we feel pretty confident going to OT and shootouts," Hejduk said. "The more you win, the more confidence you build, I guess." Colorado will try to keep that confidence high before playing seven of its next nine on the road. The Avalanche won't have back-to-back home contests until the final two games of the regular season. They got some bad news just ahead of that stretch with center Matt Duchene expected to be sidelined for three to four weeks due to an injured right ankle. The Ducks, meanwhile, are hoping their top goal scorer isn't out too long. Perry is day-to-day after injuring his shoulder on a hard hit from Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas during a 2-0 loss Saturday. That play, which resulted in a two-minute boarding penalty, left coach Bruce Boudreau fuming. Perry, among the NHL leaders with 34 goals, had scored four times over his previous four games. "If that isn't a five-minute penalty, I don't know what is," Boudreau said. "(Perry's) in the most vulnerable position, headfirst going into the boards and he's getting a shove, whether it's a little shove or a big shove. It's a shove of a defenseless person into the boards. You put your best player out in a game we had to win." The Ducks (29-30-10) are eight points behind the Avalanche in the Western Conference with 13 games remaining and haven't aided their cause by scoring one goal over the past two games. "We're in a do-or-die situation," captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "There's no doubt about it." Anaheim will try to help itself by continuing its recent success in Colorado, but it had a six-game win streak in Denver snapped with last month's loss. The Ducks have won 16 of 20 overall meetings but have dropped two of three this season. If Perry can't play, they'll likely look to Bobby Ryan to continue stepping up. The winger has four goals and an assist in the three meetings this season, and 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in his last 11 in the series. The Avalanche, meanwhile, might look to Hejduk and Ryan O'Reilly to lead the way. Hejduk has three goals and four assists in his last four games against Anaheim, while O'Reilly has four goals and two assists in his past five. Rookie Gabriel Landeskog has five assists in this season's matchups.
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