Avs coach Roy ready for another showdown with Ducks

The last time the Avalanche and Ducks played at Pepsi Center, there were just a few fireworks.

That season-opener on Oct. 2 ended with new Colorado coach Patrick Roy screaming at Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau then Roy pushing the glass between the benches in a fiery rage.

Those teams are back at Pepsi Center on Friday night, and Roy said after Friday morning's skate that the incident helped establish his role as the new coach, albeit costing him a hefty fine in the end.

"All along, I had been talking about partnership with my players, and let them know I'm with them. And when that thing happened at the end it certainly gave me an opportunity to show them that I am with them," Roy said. "It's nice to talk, but sometimes talk is cheap. It was an opportunity to show them I am with them in a good and bad situation I'll be behind these guys.

"Obviously I would have loved to save 10 grand, but it was part of it."

Forward Matt Duchene said the 6-1 win against the Ducks and the postgame outburst between coaches made the players take notice.

"Obviously Patty show he was here to play for us, here to coach for us and have our backs from the very start," Duchene said. "I wouldn't expect to see the same thing tonight, but I think it definitely set a tone for what we've done this season."

After leapfrogging Chicago in the standings Wednesday night, the Avs can move into a tie for second in the Western Conference standings with another against the Ducks win.

Anaheim is tied with San Jose (which plays Friday at the Islanders) for second in the conference with 93 points. The Avs are fourth with 91 points, one ahead of the Blackhawks. St. Louis leads the West with 97 points.

With just 16 games remaining in the regular season, the magnitude of each conference matchup increases. Friday's game ends a four-game homestand for Colorado, which heads out for a three-game road trip starting Sunday at Ottawa.

"We are looking at the standings, but we're only looking at each game as it comes to us. We're playing as hard as we can to finish as high as we can in the NHL," Duchene said. "If we win tonight, we'll be tied for second in the league. That's pretty special, a great opportunity, and we have to make the best of it."

After Friday, Colorado has just four games left against teams currently ahead of them in the Western Conference: two against San Jose (March 29 and April 11), April 5 at St. Louis and the season finale April 13 at Anaheim.

Roy said center Paul Stastny (back) will not play and they don't want to "rush him back" since the team is playing so well without him.


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