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Colorado Avalanche Gameday: Royalty meets Royalty in LA

The second of a back-to-back in California is tonight

Los Angeles Kings v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche bussed their way from Orange County to Los Angeles County on a mini Southern California road trip to face the Los Angeles Kings. We get to see another nationally televised game tonight as well on the main ESPN (hopefully starting more on-time than the game against the Ducks last night).

Colorado Avalanche

Speaking of the Anaheim Ducks, the Avs beat them out last night in a not-so-beautiful game that casually ended 2-0 for the away side. While it was not pretty, Pavel Francouz was phenomenal and earned the second shutout of his career in the same arena he got his first shutout in almost a year earlier.

The Avs as a whole are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games with an incredible record. If only it weren’t for that stinking game against the Nashville Predators and referees. But yet this digresses from the main point: this team is hot.

While the big line didn’t score any goals last night, Nazem Kadri continued his redemption tour with an assist on the first goal of the night and the game-ending empty net goal. With Valeri Nichushkin possibly returning from being on COVID Protocol, the two could be reunited on the second line.

If Nichushkin is unable to play tonight, Kiefer Sherwood will be in the lineup. J.T. Compher would move up to the second line and Logan O’Connor would move up to the third line.

Forwards

Gabriel Landeskog (92) - Nathan MacKinnon (29) - Mikko Rantanen (96)

Valeri Nichushkin (13) - Nazem Kadri (91) - Andre Burakovsky (95)

Nicolas Aube-Kubel (16) - Alex Newhook (18) - J.T. Compher (37)

Tyson Jost (17) - Mikhail Maltsev (11) - Logan O’Connor (25)

Defenders

Devon Toews (7) - Cale Makar (8)

Erik Johnson (6) - Samuel Girard (49)

Kurtis MacDermid (56) - Jack Johnson (3)

Los Angeles Kings

The Kings are sitting in second place in the Pacific Division three points behind the leading Vegas Golden Knights. Yes, you read that right. Second place in the Pacific Division. One of the bottom-feeders of the West Division last year have been holding themselves well this season.

Veteran captain Anze Kopitar is leading the Kings in every statistical category, scoring 12 goals with 23 assists for 35 points on the season in his 40 games played. He does have a -6 however, whereas new recruit Phillip Danault has found a home in LA with a +13.

The two will look to reel the Kings closer towards an improbable lead in the Pacific Division. They have lost two straight however, coming off a 6-4 loss at home to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

Forwards

Alex Iafallo (19) - Anze Kopitar (11) - Dustin Brown (23)

Trevor Moore (23) - Phillip Danault (24) - Viktor Arvidsson (33)

Alex Turcotte (39) - Rasmus Kupari (89) - Samuel Fagemo (68)

Brendan Lemieux (48) - Quinton Byfield (55) - Arthur Kaliyev (34)

Defenders

Mikey Anderson (44) - Drew Doughty (8)

Olli Maatta (6) - Matt Roy (3)

Tobias Bjornfot (33) - Sean Durzi (50)

Goaltending

The reaction of Darcy Kuemper’s injury on Monday seemed scary and is if he’d be out long-term. He is going to return to the crease to start and continue his solid form he was in before he was injured. For the Kings, it’s a toss up with veteran Jonathan Quick or Cal Petersen for who will start against the Avs.