(SportsNetwork.com) - The Colorado Avalanche are doing their best to make a late push for a playoff spot, but time is starting to run out on the postseason hopefuls.
The Avalanche look to record their longest win streak of the season on Friday night as they visit the Western Conference-leading Anaheim Ducks.
Colorado put itself in a tough position with a rough start to the season and is seven points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference despite a victory in 11 of its last 15 games. The Avs do have a game in hand over the Jets, who are idle tonight after rallying to beat the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night in a shootout.
The Avalanche opened a five-game road trip last night with a 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes, their third win in a row. Colorado is aiming to win four in a row for the first time this season.
Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves and five different skaters lit the lamp last night for the Avs. That included Freddie Hamilton, who notched his first career goal and point while skating in his 18th career game.
"It's nice to get another big win here, but I did something special today. I've been waiting a long time," said the 23-year-old Hamilton, who began his career with the Sharks before being acquired by the Avs. "It feels like a big monkey's been on my shoulder."
Ryan O'Reilly, Jarome Iginla, Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog also scored for the Avalanche.
It is unknown if Colorado coach Patrick Roy will start Varlamov on back-to- back nights or give backup Reto Berra the start. Varlamov is 3-3-1 in eight meetings with the Ducks, posting a 2.89 goals against average and .907 save percentage, while Berra lost the only time he faced them while allowing five goals on 38 shots.
With the Avalanche in need of all the points they can get, they'll have to figure out a way to beat the Ducks. Anaheim has won three in a row and 12 of the previous 17 meetings overall as well as 11 of the last 14 played at home.
Colorado lost a 3-2 decision at home to Anaheim on Nov. 2 in the first of three meetings this season
The Ducks have a solid 13-point lead over the second-place Vancouver Canucks in the Pacific Division and their 97 points on the season are tied with the Montreal Canadiens for the most in the NHL.
Anaheim picked up its third victory in a row on Wednesday with a 3-2 overtime decision against the rival Los Angeles Kings. Ryan Kesler netted the winner at the 45-second mark of OT, his 200th career goal.
Patrick Maroon and Jakob Silfverberg scored in the third period for the Ducks, who have won seven of their last 10.
"It's always difficult to play against them, but our team has played well against them," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "It's always a good test."
John Gibson finished with 29 saves in his fourth straight start over Frederik Andersen. Gibson also has won six of his last seven starts, giving up two goals or fewer in each victory.
Gibson could get the start again tonight and beat the Avalanche the only time he faced them, giving up two goals on 31 shots faced.