A return to the friendly confines of Ball Arena is much needed for the Colorado Avalanche who looked a bit lethargic after same-day travel to the desert in a loss to the Arizona Coyotes. On deck are the LA Kings who have been enjoying a successful season thus far as they sit second in the Pacific Division. This is the first time in a while the Kings enter this matchup as the team with the better record and will be a tough opponent to defeat.
This lineup is still a shell of what it should be on paper but there is hope on the horizon with at least Nathan MacKinnon looking to return within the next handful of games. As for the rest, it’s the same story of wait and see. We did our best to handicap their timelines given Jared Bednar’s comments but much of it is still unknown.
The group taking the ice tonight should be the exact same as what showed up in Arizona. One caveat remains, however. Erik Johnson took a shot off his hand and left the morning skate early. Bednar had no update so Johnson’s availability is up in the air for now. Watch for an AHL callup if the Avalanche need an extra body for tonight.
No update from Jared Bednar yet on Erik Johnson. Coach hasn't spoken to the trainer yet.— Ryan Boulding (@rboulding) December 29, 2022
Artturi Lehkonen (62) - J.T. Compher (37) - Mikko Rantanen (96)
Alex Newhook (18) - Evan Rodrigues (9) - Denis Malgin (81)
Andrew Cogliano (11) - Ben Meyers (59) - Logan O’Connor (25)
Kurtis MacDermid (56) - Charles Hudon (54) - Jacob MacDonald (26)
Cale Makar (8) - Devon Toews (7)
Sam Girard (49) - Erik Johnson (6) ?
Andreas Englund (88) - Brad Hunt (17)
Alexandar Georgiev (40)
Coming off of a big 4-2 win against the Vegas Golden Knights the Kings have some good momentum going and are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games. Now exiting a brief rebuild the team boasts a good mix of still useful veterans such as Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar as well as their young core which has taken a step forward. Gabe Vilardi is an example of the latter as he leads the team with 15 goals.
Fiala – Kopitar – Kempe
Iafallo – Danault – Arvidsson
Anderson-Dolan – Lizotte – Vilardi
Lemieux – Byfield – Kupari
Anderson – Doughty
Durzi – Roy
Edler – Walker
Pheonix Copley is the first goalie off the ice for the Kings.— Ryan Boulding (@rboulding) December 29, 2022