Perhaps it's the weight of Stanley Cup expectations both inside the locker room and from the hockey world at large, but whatever it is thus far the Anaheim Ducks are still looking for their first win of the 2015-16 campaign.
Ducks: Wednesday, 10/14 vs Arizona. "Duclair's Hat Trick Powers Coyotes 4-0 Win Over Ducks"
Avalanche: Wednesday, 10/14 vs Boston. "Bruins Beat Avalanche To A Pulp"
A fresh look may be just what the Ducks need to snap out of their early funk, as they will debut the sixth alternate jersey design in franchise history. We originally reported on Icethetics release of a rendering of the new design, as well as the International NHL Shop leak that has given fans a look at the new look since a day after the franchise announced tonight's game as the debut date. For the first time since Throwback Night against the Ottawa Senators during the 13-14 season, the 'Mighty' crest will be back on the chest of the players in Anaheim.
Having tied the franchise record set in the 1998-99 season for fewest goals through the first three games of a season, the Ducks find themselves with the worst shooting percentage in the league, scoring on 1.3% of their shots at even strength and 1.1% in all situations. Adding to the frustration is that the goaltending has been solid so far, ranking ninth in all situations with a .926 save percentage. Anaheim has traditionally been one of the best team in the league for shooting percentage in all situations, scoring on better than 9.0% of their shots eight times since 05-06, topping 9.5% six times and bettering 10.0% twice.
The all time series between Anaheim and Colorado tilts in the Ducks favor at 36-31-12, with a 20-15-5 record at Honda Center. Anaheim has taken the season series seven of the last eight years, thought the Avalanche won the last meeting 4-2 on April 3, 2015. Another point to watch is the power play- while the unit as a whole has struggled in recent seasons, it's been since 12-13 that the Ducks have scored a goal with the man advantage against Colorado, whiffing on eight opportunities in 13-14 and 11 in 14-15.
Colorado has been involved in some wild games already this season, coughing up a 4-1 lead in the span of 5:07 during their home opener against the Minnesota Wild en route to a 5-4 loss. Two nights later the Avs rallied from a 3-1 deficit after one to tie the game in the second period against the Dallas Stars, before filling the net with three more in the third to claim a 6-3 win. Then four nights later to close out their season opening three game homestand, the Boston Bruins chased Semyon Varlamov with five goals on 19 shots in 35:32, crushing Colorado 6-2.
The Avalanche will go with Reto Berra between the pipes, per Colorado's official Twitter account. Patrick Roy announced the move after Varlamov has posted a .841 SV% in the first three games. This will be the third time the Ducks have seen Berra in the third year Swiss goalie's career; Anaheim toasted Berra for five goals on 38 shots when he was with the Calgary Flames in a 5-2 win on November 29 in the 13-14 season, while he made 35 saves in the 4-2 Colorado win in early April last season. Sami Vatanen, Corey Perry, Andrew Cogliano, Jiri Sekac and Rickard Rakell have all scored on him.
Captain Gabriel Landeskog has been pulling the wagon offensively for the Avs, leading the team with four goals and two assists. Nathan MacKinnon has a goal and four assists, while former Duck Francois Beauchemin tops the team with five assists. John Mitchell, Erik Johnson, and Jarome Iginla have all scored multiple goals for Colorado this season.