Avalanche Vs. Ducks: Two Streaking Playoff Hopefuls Clash At Pepsi Center

ANAHEIM, CA - JANUARY 22: Peter Mueller #88 of the Colorado Avalanche tries for the deflection in front of goaltender Jonas Hiller #1 and defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky #17 of the Anaheim Ducks in the third period during the NHL game at Honda Center on January 22, 2012 in Anaheim, California. The Ducks defeated the Avalanche 3-2. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

The Colorado Avalanche have won three games in a row and look to continue the winning streak against the hottest team in the league, the Anaheim Ducks.

In the last week, the Colorado Avalanche have remade their team with a new identity: Kyle Quincey, Daniel Winnik, and T.J. Galiardi have been traded for bruisers Steve Downie and Jamie McGinn. The Downie trade is already working wonders for Colorado (2 G, 3 A in just three games) and McGinn will add even more physicality to an Avalanche team that used to be considered undersized. Not anymore.

Colorado may be getting hot at precisely the right time. Winners of their past three games (and with points in 8 of their last 10 games), the Avalanche suddenly have a laundry of productive forwards: David Jones (12 points in 10 games), Ryan O'Reilly (12 points in 10 games), Gabriel Landeskog (11 points in 10 games), Paul Stastny (8 points in 10 games), and Mark Olver (4 points in 5 games) have made the Avalanche offensive potent. Peter Mueller has also been cleared and will return to the ice after missing the past two weeks with a torso injury.

The Avalanche face the Anaheim Ducks, who have resurrected their season after a dismal start and have rejoined the Western Conference playoff chase. Anaheim has been the best team in the league in 2012, and are coming off a dominant 3-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. They have earned points in 11 of 12 February games and are 7-1-2 in their past 10 games. Workhorse goalie Jonas Hiller has started 21 straight games and has a .937 SV% in their past 10 contests. This is an excellent team filled with elite scorers that is peaking at precisely the right time.

Semyon Varlamov will get the start in net for Colorado.

Puck drops at 7:00 p.m. MDT

For more coverage, visit our Avalanche blog Mile High Hockey and our Ducks blog Anaheim Calling.

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