The Ducks outshot the Avalanche 14-2 in the first period, built a 2-0 lead, then allowed four consecutive goals and began their post-Olympic stretch with a loss.
Jason Blake, Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer scored for the Ducks, while Colorado’s Chris Stewart, Peter Mueller, Matt Duchene and T.J. Galiardi put pucks past Jonas Hiller. The Avalanche converted three of six power plays against a Ducks squad reduced to five defensemen because of the pregame trade of Ryan Whitney to Edmonton.
Niedermayer, whose third-period goal deflected into the net off the skate of Scott Hannan, said the pregame trades of Whitney, Petteri Nokelainen and Vesa Toskala were still on players’ minds.
“But we still had a job to do,” he said. “We still know the way we need to play to have success and we didn’t do it, for whatever reason.”
Asked about the seven players seeing their first game action since the Olympics – Niedermayer, Selanne, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Saku Koivu, Bobby Ryan and Jonas Hiller – head coach Randy Carlyle said, “I think they were guilty of trying to do too much as individuals.”
Niedermayer and James Wisniewski were particularly overworked on the power play, with future point man Lubomir Visnovsky still en route to Anaheim.
Hiller stopped 21 of 25 shots. He wasn’t challenged early, then looked bad on a pair of third-period rebounds, over a span of 1:10, that found their way directly on to the sticks of Duchene and Galiardi for goals number two and three, respectively.
“I couldn’t control the rebounds, or they didn’t go where I wanted to,” Hiller said. “They did a pretty good job being there for the second chances. Maybe we have to do a better job controlling their sticks, I have to do a better job controlling their rebounds.”
Selanne’s goal, off a nifty Jason Blake pass in the second period, gave him 598 for his career. He is three behind fellow Finn Jari Kurri for 17th place on the all-time list.