Rested Avs look to bounce back vs. Ducks

The upside to an 82-game season is losses can be forgotten pretty quickly because another game usually comes 24 or 48 hours later.

And thus a three-day break for the Colorado Avalanche did not come at an ideal time. Colorado had a lot of time to think about its 3-0 home loss to Carolina on Monday night, a loss that could weigh heavy in its fight for a playoff spot. The Avalanche finally get back on the ice when they host the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.

The positive view is Colorado had a couple of extra days to rest.

"Good rest and recovery and guys are taking advantage of it," center Nathan MacKinnon told the Denver Post of the break on Wednesday. "Usually, we're playing (Wednesday) and Friday but we've got today off and three days in between games, so it's good."

MacKinnon, who grew up in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, was one of several players who attended the optional practice on Wednesday. They made the trip to the team facility despite the "bomb cyclone" that blew through the state and paralyzed the city and airport.

"Everything (was) kind of canceled so there (wasn't) not a lot of traffic," MacKinnon said. "I'm sure they'll be some accidents, but coming in today I thought it would be a long drive in from where I live in Wash Park. But it was easy. I don't think anybody (was) in school or working, so (it was) good."

With 12 games to play, Colorado (30-28-12, 72 points) trails the Arizona Coyotes by five points for the final wild-card spot with Minnesota also standing in the way, two points ahead of the Avs. The Ducks are coming off a loss in Arizona and are far outside of contention despite winning four of their last seven games.

Anaheim (28-35-9, 65 points) has been a perennial playoff team but is now in the unfamiliar position of lottery position rather than playoff position on the line each game. Still, the Ducks are not conceding anything, as their recent play has shown.

"We're competitive people, so we want to make sure we're playing as well as we can no matter what time of year and no matter what kind of circumstances," defenseman Cam Fowler told the Orange County Register. "We've been doing that here recently. We're continuing to play for one another, which is the No. 1 makeup of this team. Now we're starting to get some results."

The Avalanche can also help themselves down the stretch quite a bit, with four of their last 11 games against teams that are in the hunt for the second wild card, including games at Minnesota and against the Coyotes.

Colorado also plays St. Louis and Dallas, teams that are battling for third place in the Central Division with the other likely to earn the first wild card.

Colorado knows if it can take care of its own schedule a playoff spot is assured. But the Avalanche have been inconsistent in the last three games -- two shutout losses and a shutout win in between. Those struggles can be forgotten with a strong finish.

"Hopefully we can put together seven, eight wins -- that'd be awesome -- and clinch," MacKinnon said. "That's our goal."

--Field Level Media
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