Anaheim Ducks Line Rushes vs. Colorado Avalanche: 11/02/2014


The Anaheim Ducks conclude their six-day road trip through the Central Division with a bout against the Colorado Avalanche tonight. The Ducks have gone 2-1-0 on the trip, including a 2-1 overtime victory over the Dallas Stars on Friday to improve the team’s record to 9-3-0 overall. The Avalanche, who returned to the playoffs last season for the first time since the 2009-2010 campaign, are a team built around the tremendous speed and skill of its terrific young forwards. The Ducks met the Avalanche three times last season, and in the first of those meetings, then-rookie head coach Patrick Roy almost pushed over the glass partition while having a heated altercation with Bruce Boudreau in the season opener for both squads. The Ducks also met the Avalanche in the regular season finale, where Anaheim gave a final hurrah in the regular season to longtime Duck Teemu Selanne.

The Ducks’ forwards lines appear to be largely intact from Friday night in Dallas. Dany Heatley will be scratched for a second consecutive game, as his two games with Anaheim have been less than stellar. Patrick Maroon returned to the lineup on Friday after recovering from his MCL sprain suffered against the Buffalo Sabres on October 13th. Corey Perry broke his three game scoreless streak with a goal and the game-winning assist in overtime, but Ryan Getzlaf remains scoreless through four games. It may be possible that Rickard Rakell draws in for William Karlsson tonight, but outside of that, the lines should be mostly the same.

According to Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register, here are the expected lineups for both teams tonight.

Anaheim Ducks Forward Lines:

Maroon – Getzlaf – Perry
Andrew CoglianoRyan KeslerDevante Smith-Pelly
Matt Beleskey – Karlsson – Jakob Silfverberg
Emerson EtemNate ThompsonTim Jackman

On the Ducks’ defense, the team is going with six defensemen after Mark Fistric suffered a lower back injury in St. Louis on Thursday. He joins Bryan Allen and Ben Lovejoy on the injured list. This means Josh Manson will play for the second consecutive game. Boudreau juggled his defense pairings a bit, moving Sami Vatanen up to the top pairing with Cam Fowler while moving Clayton Stoner back to the third pairings. This made two lefty-righty pairings for the Ducks. Vatanen played 23:07 on the top pairing for the Ducks on Friday and has topped 18 minutes of ice time in all 12 games for Anaheim this season. He also leads Ducks’ defensemen in scoring (three goals, seven points, all on the power-play) and blocked shots (25)

Anaheim Ducks Defense Pairings:

Fowler – Vatanen
Hampus LindholmFrancois Beauchemin
Stoner – Manson

As for the Colorado Avalanche, they are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues last night. The team came back from a 2-0 third period deficit on power-play tallies from Ryan O’Reilly and Nathan MacKinnon, but the loss dropped the Avalanche to 3-4-5 on the season, including 0-5 in overtime and the shootout. Matt Duchene leads the Avalanche with nine points and is tied for the team lead with six assists. Captain Gabriel Landeskog and Alex Tanguay have four goals apiece to lead the team. However, O’Reilly has a -9 rating on the season, tied for third worst in the NHL. MacKinnon had been without a goal in the team’s first ten games of the season, but he has three tallies in his last two games.

Colorado Avalanche Forward Lines:

Landeskog – Duchene – O’Reilly
Jamie McGinn – MacKinnon – Jarome Iginla
Tanguay – John MitchellDennis Everberg
Cody McLeodMarc-Andre ClicheMaxime Talbot

On the Avalanche defense, the team had expected to be better on this unit after getting a healthy Tyson Barrie back and making a move to acquire Brad Stuart from the San Jose Sharks. However, Colorado is 28th in the league in shots against per game, allowing 35.6 shots per game. Last season, this squad was 25th in the league, allowing 32.7 shots on goal per game. Erik Johnson, the first overall pick in 2006, leads the team with 22:23 of ice time per game. He also has eight points from the blue-line, which leads all Avalanche defensemen.

Colorado Avalanche Defense Pairings:

Jan Hejda – Johnson
Nate Guenin – Barrie
Stuart – Nick Holden

In net, John Gibson (2-2-0, 2.28 GAA, .927 SV%) is expected to get the start for the third time on this road-trip. Opposing him will be Semyon Varlamov (2-2-4, 2.42 GAA, .934 SV%), runner-up in the Vezina Trophy and 4th in the Hart Trophy voting last season. Varlamov took the loss in St. Louis the night before and will play both legs of the back-to-back. In Colorado’s two wins with Varlamov in net, the team has allowed 69 shots on goal, with Varlamov stopping 66 of them, including all 40 he faced against the Islanders on Thursday.

Jason Byun is one of the editors for Pucks of a Feather. He can be found on Twitter. For more Anaheim Ducks coverage, follow Pucks of a Feather on Twitter or like us on Facebook.