Help on The Way

The Colorado Avalanche's offense has sputtered during a four-game losing streak, but some help may be coming as soon as Wednesday night.

Leading scorer Paul Stasny could be back in uniform for the first time since Jan. 15 to try and help the Avalanche avoid their worst skid in nearly a decade as they meet the resurgent Anaheim Ducks.

Oddsmakers from have made Anaheim -202 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 83% of bets for this game have been placed on Colorado +182 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

Stastny and Joe Sakic, who's been out since November with a groin injury, both practiced on Tuesday. While Stastny could be back for Colorado (30-25-5) as it starts a five-game road swing, Sakic is expected to travel with the team and play sometime during the trip.

"We don't really have a timetable. We're going to see how it progresses," said Sakic, the franchise's all-time leading scorer who has missed 36 games. "As long as it keeps getting better, you never know. There's not a date set for us."

Sakic, who led Colorado last season with 36 goals and 100 points, has not played since he injured his groin on Nov. 30 and underwent sports hernia surgery on Dec. 28.

Stastny, who has sidelined since Jan. 15, also has been recovering from a groin injury suffered while trying to return following an appendectomy that kept the second-year player out of the All-Star Game. Despite missing 14 games, Stastny still leads the Avs with 32 assists and 49 points.

Having either player back would be a relief for the Avalanche. Colorado has tallied just three goals during its season high-tying skid that includes Monday's 4-0 home loss to league-leading Detroit.

The Avalanche haven't lost five in a row since dropping six straight from March 30-April 11, 1998. The loss to Detroit was also Colorado's fourth straight home loss, matching its worst stretch there since Jan. 2-16, 2003.

"That was a bad performance," Avs forward Andrew Brunette said. "That's four bad performances in a row at home. This was the worst of the four, by far. We are getting pushed around and have stopped pushing the puck.''

Colorado has also been silenced on the power play during this slide, going 0-for-18. The Avalanche did not score in the four man-advantage chances they had during a 2-1 loss to Anaheim (33-23-7) on Feb. 12 at the start of their losing streak.

The Avalanche have fallen in their last three games in versus the Ducks. They have never dropped more than four straight to Anaheim, which is in the midst of a season-high, seven-game homestand.

The Ducks have won eight of their last 10 at the Honda Center, including Sunday's 4-2 victory over Calgary. Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Carter, Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger scored in the second period as the Ducks won for the sixth win in their last seven games following a six-game (0-5-1) losing streak.

Teemu Selanne, in his seventh game back after delaying retirement, assisted on Carter's goal to set the franchise record with his 670th point.

"This has always been a happy place for me. I've said 100 times that I'm always smiling coming to the rink every day," said Selanne, who won his first Stanley Cup championship last season when the Ducks earned their first title.

Selanne played for Colorado in 2003-04, but has 22 goals and 51 points in 47 career games against the Avalanche.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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