Having split the first two games of the road trip, the Avalanche will look to build on last night’s win against the Sharks as they head to LA for the second night of their California back-to-back.
Last night’s win put the Avalanche at 90 points on the season - tying their total from all of last season with 14 games remaining. A win tonight will put the Avs ahead of last year’s total while giving them the potential to pull into a tie for first place with the St. Louis Blues.
The last place Kings have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL lately, having won five games in a row. With a game yesterday and some late night travel, the Avalanche are going to need to overcome a hot team and a lot of fatigue in order to get the win tonight.
The Avs won 2-1 in a shootout the last time these two teams met.
As has been the case for the last little while, the Avalanche were led by their captain last night. Gabriel Landeskog put up a goal an two assists, extending his point streak to eight games. Not to be outdone, Nathan MacKinnon had a three point not of his own as the team’s best players are starting to heat up during the stretch run.
On the back end, Nikita Zadorov was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. Coach Bednar wouldn’t tip his hand as to whether or not we’ll see a change tonight, but it would make sense to add Zadorov’s fresh legs to the lineup.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Vladislav Namestnikov
Matt Nieto - J.T. Compher - Joonas Donskoi
Vlad Kamenev - Tyson Jost - Val Nichushkin
Sheldon Dries - P-E Bellemare - Logan O’Connor
Ryan Graves - Sam Girard
Ian Cole - Erik Johnson
Kevin Connauton (Nikita Zadorov?) - Mark Barberio
LOS ANGELES KINGS
Though they still sit in last place, the Los Angeles Kings have been playing very well of late. With five wins in a row, they are not the easy two points they were earlier in the season.
Coming off a hat trick Saturday night, Dustin Brown has been leading the way for the Kings as he veteran has found a late-season surge since the trade deadline.
Alex Iafallo - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown
Adrian Kempe - Gabriel Vilardi - Martin Frk
Trevor Moore - Blake Lizotte - Austin Wagner
Nikolai Prokhorkin - Michael Amadio - Trevor Lewis
Ben Hutton - Drew Doughty
Mikey Anderson - Sean Walker
Kurtis MacDermid - Matt Roy
After last night’s game, coach Bednar said he would speak with Pavel Francouz this morning to see how he feels about playing a back-to-back. With the Avalanche having no more than one day off in between games for the rest of the season, it makes sense to give Francouz the night off in favor of Michael Hutchinson. The newly acquired Hutchinson has a win in his only start with the Avalanche, stopping 17 of the 18 shots he faced against Detroit last week.
For the Kings, we are likely to see Jonathan Quick once again. The veteran netminder was outstanding the last time these two teams met. Quick let in only one goal on 33 shots and was able to steal a point for the Kings before they lost in the shootout.