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Avalanche hope to build on fast start vs. Ducks

The Colorado Avalanche are right where they were a year ago -- 3-1-0 after four games and feeling confident heading into Friday's home game against the Anaheim Ducks in Denver.

But there is a different feel to this start as opposed to last season's -- experience. The Avalanche remember how things went sideways in November, when they went from a .500 team to last in the NHL. They feel they have learned from last season, and they have improved.

Wednesday's 6-3 victory over Boston -- the second win in three days against the Bruins -- showed Colorado can clamp down when needed.

"We've gotten better and better, and this was our best game as a line," center Matt Duchene, who had a goal and an assist in the win, said Wednesday night. "We've been on the board almost every night. As an offensive line we want to keep doing that. We said it on the bench and we talked about at the end of the game, we have fun with this one but it's the same thing on Friday night.

"We want to come out against Anaheim and do the same thing. You have to have a short memory when you're winning and when you're losing."

Colorado will need a short memory against the Ducks, who beat the New York Islanders 3-2 on Wednesday night. Anaheim scored the first goal of the game, something it hadn't done in the first week of the season, and is getting healthier.

Patrick Eaves made his season debut Wednesday after sitting out with a lower-body injury. Eaves was on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry and chipped in a goal.

"We're getting guys back now," Eaves told The Los Angeles Times. "I thought we did some good things moving the puck (on the power play). Getzy was shooting, so that's great for us down at the net. We'll keep working on it."

The Ducks, like most teams, had plenty of success against Colorado last season, winning all three meetings on their way to the Western Conference finals. Anaheim (2-1-1) is playing its first road game, and after Wednesday's win it feels like it has found some footing following a shaky start to the season.

"We knew we didn't play up to our potential. Going into the locker room in a tied game, it was still a good feeling for us that we had a tied game," center Rickard Rakell told the Los Angeles Times. "We knew we could play so much better."

The Ducks face an Avalanche team that could be without one of their young stars. Tyson Jost didn't practice Thursday after getting checked into the boards in the second period against Boston. He was helped off with a left knee injury but returned and scored an empty-net goal to secure the win.

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Jost was scheduled for more tests Thursday and his availability for Friday is not known. He was glad the injury wasn't more serious.

"It's a cross-checking penalty, which is what they called," Bednar said. "He was kind of in a bad spot, loses his edge and goes in hard. Fortunately, he's not hurt. To see him bounce back, our guys are pretty excited to come back out there."

The Ducks might have caught a break in avoiding Colorado's No. 1 goaltender, Semyon Varlamov. Varlamov is 3-0 with a shutout and a 1.67 goals-against average.

Jonathan Bernier, whose lone start was a 4-1 loss to New Jersey on Saturday, will be in net for the Colorado.

Updated October 12, 2017

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