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Ducks @ Avalanche Preview: Mile High Club

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Anaheim's six-day, four-game road trip makes its final stop in the Mile High City, where they hope to take advantage of a Colorado squad that's in the throes of mediocrity.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

As daunting as a week-long trip through the powerhouses of the Central Division sounds, the Ducks have done quite alright for themselves over the last three games. Over the last few days, they shut out the early Cup favorite Chicago Blackhawks in their barn and snuffed out the attempt at playoff redemption from the feisty Dallas Stars and their anti-Corey Perry fans. Although the team got blanked in St. Louis in between those two victories, four out of a possible six points against these teams is nothing to shake your head at.

Game Notes:

Lately, it looks like there's been a role reversal within this offensive juggernaut of a roster, though, as it's been the defense that's held sturdy over the last three games. They have allowed an average of one goal per game in the homes of dangerous scorers such as Patrick Kane, Tyler Seguin, and Vladimir Tarasenko, which is an impressive accomplishment for any team. Unfortunately, the offense has mirrored that number as of late, only scoring once a game as well. Winning games by a score of 5-4 or 1-0 look no different in the win column, but for a team known for winning with its offense, this recent turn of events is a little surprising, to say the least.

The Avalanche, on the other hand, are currently floundering in the bottom of the Central, having earned half of their points by way of overtime losses. With the exception of a couple of games against the Vancouver Canucks and New York Islanders, the young, powerful offense that this team relies so much on has been absent. The defense, on the other hand, hasn't strayed even the slightest bit from their "let our goalie take care of it" strategy from last season. This all-around package has combined to give Colorado a slightly less successful start out of the gate than the one they enjoyed last season.

What Can We Learn From This Game?

What's going on with the offense? An offensive corps that is considered one of the most lethal in the National Hockey League is coming off their most productive outing in five games. Again, two goals is the most the Ducks have scored in a single game in almost two weeks, with that last game coming against the Buffalo Sabres, which is pretty much a gimme these days anyway. If the Anaheim attack is to get back on track, this is a great opportunity to do so. Out of all the teams the Ducks have faced over this last week, Colorado has the worst defense by far, currently surrendering an astonishing 35.6 shots per game. Fortunately, the schedule doesn't look particularly intimidating until the 12th when the Kings make their way down the freeway, but it's always better to get those sticks hot again sooner rather than later.

Fearless Prediction:

All-star Dany Heatley gets his first goal in a Ducks sweater, which results in Twitter getting lit up with an overload of #50in07 and #50in14 hashtags. Patrick Roy does a lot of this again.

Angry Patrick Roy

Stay tuned here for updates throughout the day (lineup news, etc.) and start commenting. We'll have a quick stats pack shortly before puck drop for the in-game comments to flow.