With the Western Conference’s top seed and a Presidents’ Trophy to pursue, the Anaheim Ducks aren’t content with settling for another Pacific Division title and 50-win season.
The Ducks will try to bolster their chances of reaching their remaining goals with a fifth consecutive win Friday night and fifth in a row over the visiting Colorado Avalanche.
Anaheim (50-22-7) clinched its third straight Pacific title with a 5-1 rout of Edmonton on Wednesday, but coach Bruce Boudreau said the team did little celebrating, calling the achievement "business as usual."
"We’ve put ourselves in a good spot," forward Andrew Cogliano said. "But it’s just one part of the puzzle. Until we reach our goal, I don’t think anyone will be satisfied. It’s an achievement because the league is tough. To be in our spot speaks to the team we have."
The Ducks have a four-point lead over Nashville for the No. 1 spot in the West with the Predators holding a game in hand. Anaheim also leads the Presidents’ Trophy race after finishing one point behind Boston in 2013-14 while claiming 54 wins, the only other season in which it reached 50.
Anaheim has won eight of 10 and has held the opposition to six goals during its four-game winning streak.
"Going into the playoffs, you can’t just turn a switch on," center Nate Thompson said. "You have to make sure you’re playing the right way with some momentum heading into the playoffs."
The Ducks will get to face West teams that are out of playoff position in their final three games and have a long break before the final two, hosting Dallas on Wednesday before visiting last-place Arizona on April 11. They’ll first try to sweep the season series from Colorado (35-30-12) for the first time since 2010-11 and third time overall.
The Avalanche, last season’s Central Division champions, have been all but eliminated from the playoff race after dropping five of seven. They’ve been routed by teams outside the West playoff picture in the last two games, falling 4-1 to Edmonton on Monday and 5-1 at San Jose on Wednesday.
"We can’t be happy the way we’ve been playing," coach Patrick Roy said. "… Every time you go on the ice wearing that logo you have to wear it with pride."
Anaheim trailed in both games against the Avalanche this season before rallying for 3-2 victories, most recently winning on Corey Perry’s overtime goal March 20. Perry, who also scored in Colorado on Nov. 2, has five goals in his last six games against the Avalanche.
Frederik Andersen made 22 saves to win last month’s matchup and has keyed Anaheim’s current win streak, posting a 1.64 goals-against average in three starts.
Colorado’s Reto Berra is expected to make just his third start in four months after stopping 25 shots Wednesday. One of his worst games was his only one against Anaheim, allowing all of the Ducks’ goals in a 5-2 loss with Calgary on Nov. 29, 2013.
The Avalanche have lost 12 of 15 in Anaheim.
Colorado’s Ryan O’Reilly has a team-best 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in the last nine games, and six goals and five assists in his last 12 against Anaheim.
Ducks second-line center Ryan Kesler should return after being rested Wednesday due to a minor arm injury.