Tonight at the Staples Center, the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings faceoff as the Avalanche look to bounce back from a heartbreaking overtime loss in Anaheim last night. The Avalanche are one point up on the Blues for the second Wildcard spot - thought he Blues have a game in hand. A win nightspot is essential if the Avs want to stay alive in the playoff race.
The Avalanche are going to look for some revenge after being throttled by the Kings on home ice last week. Los Angeles embarrassed the Avs in a 7-1 outing that saw Anze Kopitar dominate from start to finish.
With only three games remaining, the Avalanche need as many points as they can possibly get in order to keep Saturday’s game against the Blues meaningful.
Coach Bednar is going to have to do whatever he can to keep Nathan MacKinnon away from Anze Kopitar. It’s going to be hard without the last change, but the Avs top line is going to have to lead by example tonight.
A regulation win would pull the Avalanche one point ahead of the Kings for the first Wildcard spot.
By all accounts, the Avalanche were incredibly fired up after the game last night. They blew a two-goal third period lead in a game that had huge playoff implications. The type of talk we heard from the team and coaches post-game should leave fans optimistic that their team will come out flying tonight.
They’re going to be tired, but this is a game where the Avs have to come out flying and let the adrenaline push them through for the entire 60 minutes.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Alex Kerfoot - Tyson Jost - Sven Andrighetto
Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau
Nail Yakupov - JT Compher - Gabriel Bourque
Nikita Zadorov - Tyson Barrie
Patrik Nemeth - Mark Alt
David Warsofsky - Samuel Girard
Los Angeles Kings
The Kings are in a dog fight with Anaheim for third place in the Pacific Division. They’ll be looking for a win to pull back head of the Ducks and strengthen inch closer to clinching a playoff birth.
Anze Kopitar has pushed himself into 6th place in league scoring, and he’s going to be looking to take advantage of a fatigued Avs blueline. He was able to exploit them last week, the Kings will be hoping he does the same tonight.
Alex Iafallo - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown
Tobias Rieder - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli
Tanner Pearson - Adrian Kempe - Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford - Nate Thompson - Torrey Mitchell
Derek Forbort - Drew Doughty
Dion Phaneuf - Alec Martinez
Kevin Gravel - Christian Folin
No confirmation yet, but we’ll assume the Kings are going with Jonathan Quick tonight. Quick was 7-4-1 in the month of March with a .924 sv%.
It’s hard to believe anyone other than Jonathan Bernier gets the start tonight against his former team. You wouldn’t normally see him back-to-back after an overtime game, but there are really no other options in what amounts to a must-win game.