Ducks-Avalanche Preview

TOM CASTRO (STATS Senior Editor)

The Anaheim Ducks' increasingly alarming losing streak could ultimately cost them the Pacific Division title, and they may also find themselves behind the surging Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference by the time the playoffs begin.

Reeling after a blowout loss to a considerably weaker opponent, the Ducks try to snap a four-game skid Friday night when they visit Colorado in the teams' first meeting since Avalanche coach Patrick Roy's feisty debut.

Anaheim (43-16-7) trailed 4-0 after the first period Wednesday and went on to a 7-2 loss to rebuilding Calgary in the opener of a key three-game road trip. Struggling to stay ahead of red-hot San Jose in the Pacific, the Ducks have gone 3-5-2 in their last eight.

''I think every guy in the room should be completely embarrassed at how they played tonight - every single person,'' said winger Andrew Cogliano, who scored his 20th goal. ''To start a road trip, one of our biggest road trips and having a division rival chasing you down and have a ton on the line, it's ridiculous how we played.''

Anaheim managed 22 shots and the seven goals allowed came on just 25. The Ducks hadn't given up that many goals since a 9-3 loss to St. Louis on Feb. 19, 2011, and are playing nothing like the team that put together an 18-1-0 stretch earlier this season.

''I don't really know what to say. It's trying to understand how that can happen in a race like we are in, in a game that is so important against a team that is beneath us in the standings,'' coach Bruce Boudreau said. ''Now going on the road to Colorado and LA (on Saturday). ... We better do some soul searching.''

Boudreau pulled Jonas Hiller 11:28 into the game after he allowed three goals on five shots. Frederik Andersen gave up the final four goals.

While keeping the puck out of their net was the biggest issue against the Flames, the Ducks haven't been scoring much either, totaling five goals in the past three games. Anaheim, which has scored 210 goals to rank third in the West, went 0 for 2 on the power play and is 2 for 35 in the last 11 contests.

Captain Ryan Getzlaf was minus-4 on Wednesday for the first time in his career.

The Ducks will face a tough challenge in Colorado (43-18-5), which has been pushing St. Louis for the Central Division and conference lead with a 6-1-0 stretch. The Avalanche have allowed two goals in all but one of those games, the latest a 3-2 home victory over Chicago on Wednesday.

Semyon Varlamov stopped 37 shots to help Colorado take four of five from the defending Stanley Cup champion.

''We are happy to be in second place (in the Central), but that's not our goal,'' said center Matt Duchene, who had a goal and an assist to give him five and nine during a career-high nine-game point streak. ''We want to keep pushing and climb as high as we can.''

Varlamov has posted a 2.17 goals-against average in going 5-1-0 in his last six.

''Varly has been playing outstanding for us,'' said Roy, whose team is two points behind the Ducks. ''He gives us a chance to win every night.''

He certainly did so in these teams' season opener Oct. 2, making 35 saves in a 6-1 Avs victory that was the only meeting of the season. That proved to be a memorable first game behind the bench for Roy, who yelled at Boudreau and then pushed the glass between the benches until it tilted after the final horn, agitated over an apparent tripping infraction against Nathan MacKinnon that wasn't called.

Colorado has won two straight matchups and is 4-1-1 in the past six.

"We have to be better, simply because (the Avalanche) already beat us 6-1 (in the opener)," Cogliano said. "They're playing very good hockey."