Apr 3, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene (9) shoots the puck past Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Matt Duchene scored the winning goal about halfway through the third period as the Colorado Avalanche kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.
Duchene pulled in the puck after Corey Perry could not control it in the Avalanche zone and rocketed down the ice. Barely a step ahead of Sami Vatanen, Duchene beat John Gibson under the goalie's left leg for his 21st of the season.
That goal keeps the Avalanche mathematically alive for another day, trailing the Los Angeles Kings by six points for the final berth with only four games remaining. The Avalanche play their final road game Saturday at the Kings.
Reto Berra overcame a shaky first period and made 35 saves for the Avalanche, who added an empty net goal from Dennis Everberg.
Gibson made 19 saves for the Ducks, whose four-game winning streak came to an end.
The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead when Jarome Iginla occupied three Ducks defenders and slid the puck across the slot to John Mitchell, who put it past Gibson for his 11th goal of the season.
Jiri Sekac tied it 58 seconds later by collecting an errant pass, racing down the ice on a breakaway and leaving Berra sprawled face-first on the ice before coolly backhanding the puck in for his ninth goal of the season.
Things didn't get any better for Berra, losing his balance trying to keep track of Perry behind the net. After Perry lost control of the puck, Rickard Rakell corralled it and converted a low-angle shot into an empty net for a 2-1 lead with 2:02 left in the first.
The Avalanche also had a John Mitchell goal waved off early in the first period after the referees ruled that Jordan Caron interfered with Gibson.
Tempers flared in the second period, ultimately putting the Avalanche in position to tie the game at 2-2.
Cody McLeod and Perry got into it next to the Avalanche bench, with Simon Despres jumping into the fray. Each man was hit with a roughing penalty, and the Avalanche had a great look when Nick Holden's shot went under Gibson's leg and across the crease.
Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski lost his stick two minutes later and responded by getting into it with Duchene, jabbing his stick several times in his back before being whistled for holding.
On the ensuing power play, Alex Tanguay found Gabriel Landeskog between the circles for a one-timer with 3:08 remaining in the period. Landeskog picked up his 23rd goal of the season and 56th point, matching Iginla for the team lead.
NOTES: Ducks C Ryan Getzlaf, who leads the team with 68 points, was a healthy scratch. D Clayton Stoner and LW Matt Beleskey each missed their third straight game with lower-body injures. LW Patrick Maroon (flu) also sat, and D Korbinian Holzer was a healthy scratch. ... Ducks RW Stefan Noesen made his NHL debut after being recalled from Norfolk (AHL) earlier on Friday. ... The loss marked only the fourth this season for the Ducks against the Central Division (16-4-0).