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Cancel The Parade: Ducks Drop Preseason Opener To Avalanche In Overtime 5-4

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Anaheim squanders a third period lead, drops first exhibition game in three-on-three overtime in Denver.

Jiri Sekac had a pair of goals for the Ducks.
Jiri Sekac had a pair of goals for the Ducks.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

You can put away the ticker tape and cancel that party bus rental.

No more need to worry about claiming the preseason President's Trophy either.

Despite seeing multiple sites and pundits pick the Anaheim Ducks as favorites to claim the Stanley Cup for the 2015-16 season, the exhibition campaign got off to a rocky start in the Rocky Mountain state.

Jiri Sekac scored a pair of goals and Mike Santorelli dished a pair of assists, but Anaheim squandered a two-goal third period lead thanks to a pair of late special teams goals en route to losing 5-4 to the Colorado Avalanche in the 2015 preseason opener at Pepsi Center.

Jack Skille scored a shorthanded goal, and Nick Holden converted on the power play just past the midway mark of the final regulation frame to knot the score for the hosts, with Alex Tanguay notching the game winner just 1:18 in to the first competitive three-on-three overtime session played by both teams. The Avalanche dressed a lineup with significant NHL player presence, while the Ducks opted for a a group heavily filled out by likely San Diego Gulls.

Tanguay's winner came after odd-man chances at each end of the rink. First John Gibson made a stop on a three-on-one opportunity for Colorado, then Wagner had the door shut by Roman Will on a breakaway, who had come on in net for the hosts in the third period. Nikita Zadorov found Tanguay in front for the finish, picking up his second assist of the night.

Sekac (two goals), Santorelli (two assists), Tanguay (goal and assist), Skille (goal and assist), and Nathan MacKinnon (two assists) finished with multiple points on the night.

The Ducks opened the account just 28 seconds in, as Max Friberg scooped up a turnover in the neutral zone and swung it to Sekac, who beat Semyon Varlamov high to the short side for a 1-0 Ducks lead on the first shot of the game. Colorado's response was swift, as less than two minutes later Connor Bleackley powered towards Gibson and beat the newly re-signed Ducks goalie at the 2:20 mark.

Colorado took their first lead of the game in the second period, with Mikko Rantanen converting after a giveaway by Jaycob Megna for the 2-1 edge at 6:16. A Simon Despres point shot lead to the Ducks equalizer, as Patrick Maroon won the puck in the corner and fed it back to the defender, who let fire with a shot that created a rebound for Julius Nattinen to knock home.

In the third period Anaheim built a two goal edge in the first 3:52 as Sekac finished an odd-man chance from Santorelli with Josh Manson joining the rush, then a big hit from Wagner freed the puck for Nick Ritchie behind the net, who returned it in front for Wagner to bash home. The Avalanche clawed within one less than three minutes later as Skille beat Gibson on a shorthanded wraparound, then with Rickard Rakell in the box for holding Holden scored from Gabriel Landeskog and MacKinnon.

Gibson finished the night with 26 saves on 31 shots, while Will picked up the win for Colorado in relief, stopping 9 of 11. Varlamov turned aside 15 of 17 through the first 40 minutes. The Ducks came up empty on three power play opportunities, while giving the Avalanche five man-advantage chances, and allowed the only two shots on net in overtime.

The Ducks host their first home contest of the six game preseason slate this Friday night at 7 PM against the Los Angeles Kings, before traveling up the coast the following night to face the San Jose Sharks at 6 PM. The Kings picked up a 5-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night in Bakersfield, and hosted Arizona tonight at STAPLES Center.

Friday's Ducks-Kings game will be aired on Prime Ticket, as well as feature a streamed audio play-by-play broadcast at AnaheimDucks.com.

(Yes, that was entirely too serious for the preseason, folks. Get ready- we'll be presenting the whole preseason #EntirelyTooSerious)