An NHL-record ninth straight division title is still a possibility for the Colorado Avalanche.
The Avalanche look to keep their Northwest Division title hopes alive and avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks when the teams face off at the Arrowhead Pond.
To capture the Northwest, Colorado needs to win its final two games against Anaheim and St. Louis on Sunday, and hope Vancouver loses in regulation to Los Angeles at home on Sunday. The Canucks can win the division with either a tie or an overtime loss against the Kings.
The division winner will finish third in the Western Conference and likely face Anaheim or Minnesota in the first round of the playoffs. The second-place team in the Northwest would have home ice in the opening round against St. Louis.
Colorado surrendered three unanswered goals in the third period Thursday in a 5-3 loss at Los Angeles, ending a three-game win streak.
Milan Hejduk scored his 47th goal and 21st in 28 games for the Avalanche, who are 30-10-4-4 since Tony Granato replaced Bob Hartley as coach Dec. 19.
“There are no excuses. We were ahead 3-2 and had the game right where we wanted it, but they were working really hard,” goalie Patrick Roy said. “It’s more frustrating than anything else.”
The Avalanche have lost all three meetings with the Mighty Ducks this season, including two in overtime.
Anaheim failed to gain a point for the first time in eight games with a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday.
Sandis Ozolinsh scored the lone goal for the Ducks, 5-1-1-1 in their last eight.
This is the final regular season game for Anaheim, which has a team-record 94 points. The Ducks are battling Minnesota and Edmonton for sixth in the conference.
“We had our chances and didn’t bury them,” coach Mike Babcock said after the loss to the Stars. “A loss at this time of year can be a good thing because it allows your team to stop, refocus and prepare for the playoffs.”
With one goal in his last 17 games and 25 this season, Anaheim’s Paul Kariya will finish with his lowest total since he scored 17 goals in 22 games in 1997.
STANDINGS: Avalanche - 101 points, 2nd place, 3 PB, Northwest Division. Mighty Ducks - 94 points, 2nd place, 15 PB, Pacific Division.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through April 2): Avalanche - Power play: 18.5 percent (65 for 352), 7th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.6 percent (284 for 344), 20th. Mighty Ducks - Power play: 16.1 percent (55 for 341), 15th. Penalty killing: 87.6 percent (283 for 323), 2nd.
SEASON SERIES: Mighty Ducks, 3-0.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 9; Mighty Ducks, 5-3. At Denver, Sykora’s second goal of the game broke a tie with 1:18 left in regulation and Jason Krog added two goals for Anaheim.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Avalanche - 20-10-5-5 on the road; Mighty Ducks - 22-10-7-1 at home.