Less than a week into their season, the Anaheim Ducks are already frustrated.
They’ll try to avoid opening with four straight losses for the first time in seven years Friday night against the visiting Colorado Avalanche.
A winner of three straight Pacific Division titles and owner of the Western Conference’s best record the past two seasons, Anaheim (0-2-1) has reason to feel a little tense about its slow start.
"We’re as mad as anybody," forward Ryan Kesler said.
"If we think we’re just going to come in on Friday and it’s magically going to happen, it’s not. We need to put our work boots on. That starts with will and passion."
Held to one goal through the first three games for the second time in their existence, the Ducks last dropped four in a row to open their season in 2008-09. Anaheim lost a franchise-worst five straight to begin 2003-04, also the last time it dropped the first three at home.
"We just have to wake up," Ryan Getzlaf said. "We’re playing like a team not playing for anything right now. It’s about accountability throughout this locker room."
Getzlaf last went his first four games without a point in that 2008-09 season. Teammate Corey Perry has never done so.
While the Ducks managed 37 shots on goal Wednesday after failing to record 30 in the first two contests, they were stymied by Arizona’s Mike Smith in the 4-0 home defeat.
"It’s a pretty humbling game," defenseman Cam Fowler said. "We’re by no means where we need to be. Not just in execution, but our work ethic."
Frederik Andersen is likely to be in net after replacing backup Anton Khudobin, who was pulled for allowing three first-period goals on eight shots Wednesday. Andersen has stopped 86 of 90 shots this season. He made 22 saves in his only appearance against Colorado, a 3-2 overtime home victory March 20.
The Ducks’ four-game winning streak against the Avalanche (1-2-0) ended in the next meeting, 4-2 on April 3.
Colorado backup Reto Berra made 35 saves in that contest and could make his first start this season in place of Semyon Varlamov, who has yielded 13 goals while posting a 5.07 GAA and an .841 save percentage in three games.
After Varlamov was pulled for giving up the game’s first five goals on 19 shots in Wednesday’s 6-2 loss to Boston, Avs coach Patrick Roy is expected to consult with goaltending coach Francois Allaire before deciding on Friday’s starter.
"Varly doesn’t have the start that I’m sure he wants, but at the same time, you look at the (three) goals he gave up in the second (period Wednesday), no help," Roy told the Avalanche’s official website.
Varlamov has posted a 4.38 GAA during an 0-2-1 stretch against the Ducks.
While Varlamov and the defense have struggled, Colorado has scored 12 times and gone 5 for 10 on the power play. The Avs didn’t record their first power-play goal last season until the fifth game.
Gabriel Landeskog has four goals and two assists. He snapped a three-game point drought against the Ducks with a goal in the April meeting.
After playing the last four-plus seasons during a second stint with Anaheim, Colorado defenseman Francois Beauchemin faces his former club while among the league leaders with five assists.