This is the second of three meetings between Los Angeles and Colorado this season. On January 22, the Avalanche defeated the Kings 3-1 at Pepsi Center, marking L.A.’s first regulation loss in 96 games in which it led after two periods, ending an 86-0-9 stretch. After tonight, the two teams will meet at Staples Center on Thursday, April 11.
Lots more after the jump…
Colorado has won three of four in advance of its three-game California swing, which begins this afternoon at Staples. The Avalanche are 1-3-1 against the Pacific Division and 2-5-0 on the road. In the team’s last outing, Semyon Varlamov’s 33 saves were propped up by David Jones’ goal with 17 seconds remaining in overtime for a 1-0 win on Wednesday, marking Varlamov’s second shutout of the season.
20-year old team captain and dynamic playmaker Gabriel Landeskog is expected to return to the lineup Saturday after missing 11 games with a concussion. He is likely to skate on the left wing, opposite David Jones, on a line centered by Paul Stastny.
Semyon Varlamov is expected to draw the start for Colorado. In his lifetime, he is 4-1-0 against Los Angeles with a 1.77 goals against average and a .942 save percentage. He stopped 28 of 29 shots to earn the win in the teams’ previous meeting this season.
The Kings have lost five consecutive games to the Avalanche, going 0-4-1 and scoring six total goals over the span. Their last victory over Colorado was a 4-1 win at Staples Center on March 26, 2011. They are 3-1-1 against the Northwest Division this season.
Los Angeles is likely to go with Jonathan Quick in net. Quick is 7-4-1 lifetime against the Avalanche with a 2.73 GAA and .894 Sv%. In the January 22 game, he stopped 28 of 31 shots.
Jonathan Bernier has played 40 minutes against Colorado in his career. On February 22, 2011, he entered the game to start the second period and stopped 15 of 16 shots in a 4-1 loss.
Saturday’s game opens a stretch for Los Angeles in which it plays 13 of 16 games at home and only leaves the Pacific Time Zone to travel to Phoenix.
Rankings and Statistics:
Goals/Game: LAK – 25 / 2.33; COL – 22 / 2.47
Goals Against/Game: LAK – 12 / 2.47; COL – 18 / 2.87
Power Play: LAK – t-23 / 14.3%; COL – t-26 / 13.0%
Penalty Kill: LAK – 18 / 81.8%; COL – 21 / 79.1%
Shots/Game: LAK – t-8 / 30.1; COL – t-11 / 29.9
Shots Against/Game: LAK – 2 / 25.0; COL – 27 / 31.7
Faceoffs: LAK – t-12 / 50.6%; COL – t-19 / 49.4%
Projected Lines – Los Angeles
Dustin Brown – Anze Kopitar – Justin Williams
Trevor Lewis – Mike Richards – Jeff Carter
Dustin Penner – Jarret Stoll – Dwight King
Kyle Clifford – Colin Fraser – Jordan Nolan
Keaton Ellerby – Drew Doughty
Rob Scuderi – Slava Voynov
Jake Muzzin – Davis Drewiske
Notes: There are likely to be adjustments defensively, as Doughty has recently seen shifts at even strength strength with Ellerby, Muzzin and Drewiske. Los Angeles has won 73-of-117 faceoffs over the last two games. As always, line pairings are educated assessments and not definite alignments.
Projected Lines – Colorado
Jamie McGinn – Matt Duchesne – P.A. Parenteau
Gabriel Landeskog – Paul Stastny – David Jones
Cody McLeod – John Mitchell – Milan Hejduk
Aaron Palushaj – Mark Olver – Chuck Kobasew
Ryan O’Byrne – Matt Hunwick
Stefan Elliott – Greg Zanon
Jan Hejda – Tyson Barrie
Notes: Defenseman and former first overall pick Erik Johnson is out indefinitely with a head injury. Forward Steve Downie is out for the season due to a torn ACL suffered in the win over Los Angeles on January 22. With Landeskog’s return, Patrick Bordeleau is likely the player to drop out of the lineup. As always, line pairings are educated assessments and not definite alignments.