Tonight the Ducks start a six game road trip, the longest of the season, in Colorado. On paper, this trip looks pretty daunting. It includes six games in 11 days with two sets of back to backs, games against two teams that have started on fire (Chicago and St. Louis), and teams that the Ducks have historically had trouble beating in Detroit (despite their slow start) and Nashville (6-0-1 vs. the Ducks in their last seven).
After two rock solid games against San Jose and Minnesota, the Ducks have gone a little wobbly but found ways to win their last two. They'll have to get back to the way they played last week to be keep their three game winning streak alive for long on this trip.
In theory the game of least concern should be tonight. The Avalanche are one of only two teams on this trip below .500 so far in the season (Dallas is the other) and they are without Ryan O'Reilly, their top scorer from last year, due to a contract dispute and young captain Gabriel Landeskog (head injury). Of course, that brings up another concern, in almost 20 years of watching the Ducks there is one thing that is invariable. No matter who their coach is, or what players they can put on the ice, the Ducks have always found a way to play down to their opponents.
Colorado ranks 23rd in goals per game (2.33), 11th in goals against per game (2.56), 29th in power play percentage (9.4, ouch) and 17th in Penalty Kill (78.7). Among those categories, the Ducks only trail Colorado in PK (obviously) and goals against. Then again, the last time the Ducks played a team struggling offensively, the Kings scored four goals.
The Avs are coming off their first home loss of the season, Monday night to Dallas. So this is by no means a walk in the park, but it will be two points the Ducks need to get in order to set the tone for an increasingly difficult trip ahead.
PS. Maybe we'll even get to see our old friend J.S. Giguere.... I'll always love you Jiggy.