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Ducks Vs. Avalanche: Anaheim Looks To Continue Road Success

(Sports Network) - The Anaheim Ducks will try to continue their recent success on the road when they kick off a four-game swing this afternoon against the Colorado Avalanche. The Ducks are just 11-13-3 on the road this year, but have won three of their last four away games heading into today's battle at the Pepsi Center. Anaheim, which is tied for fifth in the Western Conference with San Jose, has done most of its damage on home ice this year, as the Ducks have posted a 17-8-1 mark in Orange County.

Anaheim has also played well in Denver in recent years, winning four straight and five of its last six games at the Pepsi Center. The Ducks have also taken seven of eight overall in the series and they recorded a 5-2 win at Colorado when the clubs last met on March 31 of last season. The Ducks will try to rebound from a loss today after dropping Wednesday's 4-3 regulation decision to visiting San Jose. Ryane Clowe's power-play goal late in the second period proved to be the game-winner for the Sharks.

Bobby Ryan, Cam Fowler and Joffrey Lupul scored in the loss for the Ducks and Corey Perry added two assists. Anaheim fell behind 3-0 in the game before crawling back into the contest. "We were lethargic to start the game and going down 3-0 to a division rival is a tough hole to crawl out of," Ryan said. Jonas Hiller was pulled in favor of Curtis McElhinney after the former yielded three goals on 10 shots. McElhinney made 17 saves in relief and is expected to get the start today, as Hiller has been ruled out due to fatigue and light-headedness. The Ducks have listed Hiller's status as day-to-day and have stated that he is being held out of today's game for precautionary reasons.

The Ducks recalled goaltender Timo Pielmeier to presumably serve as the backup to McElhinney. Pielmeier has never seen action in an NHL game. Colorado, meanwhile, will try to avoid a third straight loss when they invite the Ducks for today's matinee in the Mile High City. After having their first game following the All-Star break postponed due to bad weather in St. Louis, the Avalanche were finally back to work Thursday against visiting Minnesota. However, the Wild grabbed the lead early and held on for the 4-3 win at the Pepsi Center.

Kyle Brodziak and Andrew Brunette scored the fastest two goals to start a game in Wild history, giving Minnesota a 2-0 edge just 61 seconds into the game. Colorado pulled within one goal on a few occasions, but could never draw even. Milan Hejduk scored twice for Colorado, which has also dropped four of its last five games and is three points out of a playoff seed in the West. Craig Anderson allowed four goals on 25 shots in the setback.

"It sure wasn't the start we wanted," said Anderson. "We battled back, but it just wasn't good enough. For us, we need to find a way to be ready right at the start." The Avs, who are 14-12-3 on home ice this year, could get forward Ryan O'Reilly back today after he missed the last six games with a shoulder injury. O'Reilly has five goals and 15 points this year and is questionable for today's tilt.