PREVIEW: Colorado Avalanche face Anaheim Ducks, look to extend point streak to 11

Mar 16, 2021; Newark, New Jersey, USA; Buffalo Sabres goaltender Jonas Johansson (34) makes a save against New Jersey Devils left wing Miles Wood (44) as Buffalo defenseman Colin Miller (33) assists during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks haven’t had much to cheer about lately, but they’re riding some momentum coming into Denver on Monday night.

Anaheim completed a sweep of St. Louis on Sunday with a 3-2 overtime win, with both games coming on the road against a team that has been sputtering. Now the Ducks face one of the hottest teams in the league in the Colorado Avalanche.

Colorado has gone 8-0-2 in its last 10 games and has vaulted to within one point of the Vegas Golden Knights atop of the West Division. The Avalanche had won seven straight at home before an overtime loss to Vegas on Saturday, but still has earned at least one point in 10 straight games.

They’ll try to make it 11 against a team that has played them well this season.

Colorado has won three of the five meetings with Anaheim but the Ducks had a chance to win every game in the season series. The Avalanche won two in overtime and trailed 4-2 after the first period in the third of those games before rallying to win.

Colorado could be without rookie defenseman Bo Byram for Monday’s game. He was placed in the concussion protocol after getting hit by Vegas’ Keegan Kolesar in Thursday’s game and didn’t return. He sat out Saturday, and after the game coach Jared Bednar didn’t know how long he would miss.

“I’ve got him day-to-day right now, but it could turn week-to-week,” Bednar said. “We’ll just keep evaluating him on a daily basis. He seemed to be doing pretty good today, but not well enough to get back in the lineup.”

Dan Renouf stepped into the lineup and squared off against Kolesar. If Byram can’t go, Renouf will likely be in the defensive rotation against Anaheim.

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Bednar normally doesn’t announce who will start in net until the day of the game, but there’s a good chance newly acquired Jonas Johansson will get the start. Philipp Grubauer has carried a heavy workload while the Avalanche try to sort out their backup goaltender situation.

The last time the Ducks and Colorado played, Hunter Miska was in goal for the Avalanche and allowed four goals in seven shots in the first period before Grubauer came on and shut out Anaheim the rest of the way, allowing his teammates to rally.

Colorado might not be done dealing before the April 12 trade deadline, and if the Ducks are active it will likely be as a seller. Anaheim is in last place in the division and will probably miss the cut for the postseason.

The Ducks were expected to make strides this season, but they are 8-14-4 since the end of January.

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“When you’re in a team in transition, a team rebuilding, it’s not for the faint of heart,” coach Dallas Eakins said recently. “Everyone, to a man, wants this to go fast. I want it to go fast. (GM Bob Murray) wants it to go fast. Our fan base wants it to go fast. The reality is that it takes a high level of patience, and it’s hard to do.”

–Field Level Media