DENVER (AP) — John Gibson made 33 saves two days after he recorded a shutout, and Jakob Silfverberg scored for a second straight game as the Anaheim Ducks climbed into sole possession of the Pacific Division lead with a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.
Ryan Kesler and Rickard Rakell each added their team-leading 17th goals of the season, and Corey Perry also scored to help the Ducks win for the fifth time in six games.
Anaheim surpassed San Jose in the standings with 54 points. The Sharks, with 52 points, were idle Thursday.
Nathan MacKinnon scored for Colorado, and Semyon Varlamov returned from his latest groin muscle injury to stop 28 shots. The Russian netminder dropped to 6-15 in his first start since Dec. 22.
The Avalanche looked fresh off their five-day break in the opening minutes and had the first five shots of the game. After that, it was more of the same for the NHL’s worst team.
Silfverberg put the Ducks up 1-0 when he ripped his 13th goal of the season over Varlamov’s shoulder with 3:52 gone in the first.
That was the first of three goals in a 2:23 span.
The Avalanche were next, tying the game on a nifty breakaway goal from MacKinnon at 5:24. The All-Star center deked back and forth down the ice before he flipped a backhand past Gibson.
Anaheim retook the lead 51 seconds later as Rakell let loose a chance from the top of the circle to end his five-game scoring drought.
The Ducks then extended the lead to 3-1 6:03 into the second. Varlamov stretched his left leg out to make a pad save on Shea Theodore’s wrap-around chance, but Kesler found the loose puck at Varlamov’s skate and slammed it home.
Colorado couldn’t get back into the game despite two power-play opportunities and a 15-8 shooting advantage in the third. The Avs pulled Varlamov with 2:51 remaining to get an extra attacker, but Perry made them pay with an empty-net goal with 1:36 left.
Anaheim improved to 9-8-6 on the road this season, while the Avs dropped to an NHL-worst 5-14-1 at home.
NOTES: Ducks C Ryan Getzlaf (lower body) returned to the lineup after a four-game absence and had an assist. … MacKinnon was named to his first All-Star Game on Tuesday, while Kesler and D Cam Fowler will represent Anaheim. … Avalanche RW Jarome Iginla appeared in his 1,514th career game, tying him with Steve Yzerman for 15th on the NHL’s all-time list. … The Ducks are hosting a “siblings trip” while visiting Colorado and Arizona. It includes six sisters, six brothers and one mother, according to the team’s website.
Ducks: At Arizona on Saturday night to conclude a two-game road trip.
Avalanche: Continue their four-game homestand against Nashville on Saturday.
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