Qualifying for the postseason and winning a division title are accomplishments Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau won't downplay, but he's also made it clear he's set his sights much higher than that.
Anaheim can move closer to the Pacific Division crown Wednesday night by dealing the last-place Colorado Avalanche a season-worst sixth consecutive defeat.
The Ducks (27-8-5) have shined in their first full season under Boudreau after he took over during a disappointing 34-36-12 campaign in 2011-12. They hold a sizable lead on second-place Los Angeles in the Pacific - which they haven't won since their Stanley Cup season of 2006-07 - and aren't far behind Chicago for the top spot in the Western Conference.
Anaheim will be headed to the postseason, but Boudreau said his team still has goals left to achieve after Radek Dvorak scored both goals in Monday's 2-1 win over Edmonton.
The Ducks have gone 5-1-1 since dropping a season-worst four straight.
"I remember hearing some people say at the beginning, 'Let's have a good year and we can maybe make the playoffs if we work hard.' But from Day 1, I've always believed that if you don't shoot for the moon, you won't get there," Boudreau said. "You've got to put the bar as high as you can and try to achieve those goals. The first goal was to make the playoffs, and then the second goal and then there's the third goal and onward.
"If you don't want the whole enchilada, I don't want you on the team.'
The Ducks, who will be finishing a five-game homestand, seem more than determined down the stretch. Jonas Hiller made 27 saves Monday after sitting out the last four with an illness. He stopped 23 shots and Corey Perry scored his second goal of the game in overtime to give Anaheim a 4-3 win over Colorado on Feb. 24.
Boudreau also could turn to rookie Viktor Fasth, who made 31 saves in a 3-0 win over the Avalanche on Feb. 6 for one of his three shutouts.
Colorado (12-22-5) has been struggling against most goaltenders lately, scoring two or fewer goals in each contest during a 1-5-1 stretch.
The Avalanche lost 3-1 to Calgary on Monday as Brad Malone scored his first NHL goal. Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who backstopped the Ducks to their 2007 title, made 31 saves while falling to 0-4-2 with a 3.29 goals-against average over his last seven starts.
"We know we can score some goals, we have some offensive tools,' Giguere said. ``We talk about it every day. At some point, we have to understand. There's no more excuse. It's not about being young. We have to put our head into the game.'
Matt Duchene, tied with P.A. Parenteau for the team lead with 15 goals, said it's "embarrassing" for the Avalanche - 2-12-1 in their last 15 games - to have the fewest points in the NHL.
``We were right there for a while and hit the skids,' Duchene said. ``Had we gone the other way, we're in a playoff spot. But it came to that crunch time and we weren't able to perform way we should have.'
Anaheim has won 10 of its last 12 home meetings with Colorado.
The Associated Press News Service
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