The Anaheim Ducks couldn't dig themselves out of an early hole in their first game following the All-Star break. The Colorado Avalanche weren't able to do so, either.
The Ducks look to get off to a better start on their four-game trip when they go for a fifth straight victory in Denver on Saturday.
After winning 10 of 13 going into the All-Star break, Anaheim (28-21-4) returned to action Wednesday and lost 4-3 to San Jose after falling behind 3-0 in the opening 11:15.
The Ducks -- in the midst of playing 10 of 12 games on the road -- are tied with the Sharks for second place in the Pacific Division, five points behind Dallas.
"You can't win a lot of games when you're down 3-0 within the first 10-12 minutes," said rookie defenseman Cam Fowler, who has recorded a power-play goal in each of the last three games. "I'm not sure if we were a little rusty after the break, but there are no excuses. We can't have a start like that. Our guys did a good job of battling back, but it just wasn't enough."
Getting ahead at the Pepsi Center hasn't been a problem for the Ducks, who have outscored Colorado 7-2 in the first periods of the last four meetings in Denver -- all Anaheim victories.
The Ducks outscored the Avalanche 20-9 in those contests.
Colorado will be trying to avoid a third straight defeat on home ice after falling 4-3 to Minnesota on Thursday.
Playing their first game following the break after Tuesday's contest in St. Louis was postponed due to a storm, the Avalanche trailed 2-0 just 1:01 in.
"It's not anything they did, we just weren't ready to start and it cost us the game," center Kevin Porter said. "I thought after that we dominated the play. ... But those two minutes killed us."
Colorado is the league's worst penalty killing team at home at 71.9 percent, but the Avs have improved in that area over the last five games, denying 19 of 21 chances. That could be key against the Ducks, who have scored five power-play goals in their last three games.
Even more important for Colorado, though, is getting better goaltending. Craig Anderson has gone 0-4-0 with a 4.43 goals-against average in his last four starts, while backup Peter Budaj is 4-2-2 with a 3.94 GAA in his previous nine.
Anderson was in net for all four games versus Anaheim last season, going 1-3-0 with a 4.23 GAA. Coach Joe Sacco could give the nod to Budaj, 8-2-2 with a 2.91 GAA at the Pepsi Center this season.
In the teams' last matchup, Anderson made 22 saves in a 5-2 loss March 31 in Denver.
Ducks forward Jason Blake had four assists and a career high-tying five points in that matchup, while Saku Koivu added a goal and three assists. Teemu Selanne chipped in a goal and an assist.
Selanne has seven goals and four assists during a seven-game point streak versus Colorado.
If Jonas Hiller gets the start for the Ducks, he will try to rebound from one of his worst efforts of the season. Making his first appearance since stopping 15 of 17 shots in his All-Star debut Sunday, Hiller was pulled Wednesday after surrendering three first-period goals.
Hiller, replaced by Curtis McElhinney in the March 31 matchup due to back spasms, is 6-2-0 with a 2.00 GAA in eight career starts against Colorado.
The Ducks have won 11 of 13 in this series.
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