December was kind to the Avalanche at home, but the month's final day puts Colorado on the road against a team is has struggled mightily against over the past few seasons.
The Avs face the Ducks for the first time this season looking to snap a six- game series losing streak in the opener of a four-game swing that marks the return of goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere to Anaheim but the first of what is to be quiet a few games without leading goal-scorer Matt Duchene.
Colorado recorded a 3-2 win over Phoenix on Thursday to close out the home portion of its December schedule with an 8-1 record. That matches the club mark for most wins in a month after the franchise also went 8-1 in March of 2008.
The Avalanche have been less successful on the road, going 7-8-1 while snapping a nine-game slide as the guest with a win at Minnesota on Monday.
Set to play seven of the next eight on the road, Colorado will try to build off Thursday's win that featured the game-winner from rookie Gabriel Landeskog early in the third period. He converted a feed from Chuck Kobasew, who returned from an eight-game absence caused by a head injury.
"Chuck did a great job of getting me the puck, and I was lucky to put it where I wanted to," Landeskog admitted. "We repeated that team effort from last game, and I'm happy to get the win."
Kevin Porter and Stefan Elliott also tallied for the Avalanche, who bounced back from a 4-1 loss to the visiting Jets on Tuesday and have taken seven of their last nine. Semyon Varlamov stopped 25 shots to earn his 12th win of the year.
"You always want to finish strong at home before going on a long road trip. We really owed our fans this one after the last game against Winnipeg," Landeskog said. "It was a great win and it started with Varly in net."
While Kobasew returned to the lineup, Duchene was forced to exit in the first period with a knee injury that is expected to sideline him for at least a month. He has a team-leading 12 goals to go along with 12 assists on the season.
Playing without Duchene is bad news for an Avalanche club that has lost 15 of its past 17 encounters with the Ducks. Anaheim has also won eight of the past nine at home in this series, but is coming off a 5-2 loss to Vancouver on Thursday in the opener of a six-game residency.
The Ducks trailed 2-0 after the first and 4-0 following the conclusion of the second before getting goals from Nick Bonino and Bobby Ryan. Still, Anaheim failed to win back-to-back games for the first time since early October and lost for the fifth time in six games overall.
"You can't go down two in the first," said Ryan. "You can't play from behind on a team like that because they know how to win and close games out. They just kept pushing and outplayed us in every aspect I thought."
The goaltending duo will look to get back on track on the same night that former Duck Giguere makes his return to Anaheim.
Giguere, who is expected to start for the Avs, last played with the Ducks in 2009-10 before getting dealt to the Maple Leafs during the season and helped backstop Anaheim to a Stanley Cup championship in 2007.
"I haven't been back since I was traded, it's almost been two years now, and I've been looking forward to going back and playing there," said Giguere, who will be honored by the Ducks during the game's first timeout. "It's been a special place for me and my family and it feels like I'm going back home."