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Preview: California Dreaming in a back-to-back against LA

Colorado, fresh off a loss to Anaheim, will try to get right against the LA Kings.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Los Angeles Kings Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche will have to move on quickly from last night’s loss to Anaheim as they meet the LA Kings in the second of a back-to-back. Colorado won the first time these two clubs met in October by a score of 5-2. Will the Avalanche remain undefeated in the season series, or will LA exact revenge?

Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche didn’t win last night, and although it’s never ideal to lose when your team has a two-goal lead, the Avalanche have done well to earn points in six straight games. Beating the Kings will mean securing 12 of 14 points over a seven-game stretch. Runs like this typically find the Avalanche on top of the Central Division.

It feels a bit like Nathan MacKinnon is on the precipice of having a break-out night. He’s produced points all season but kind of quietly. I don’t expect that to continue, so get your popcorn ready. It’s Nate Dogg highlight season!

The Avalanche might need Nate’s contribution and more, as we are unsure if Cale Makar will play tonight. It was odd that he didn’t appear in the overtime period before last night’s shootout. Given the back-to-back situation, giving Cale the night off might be good.

Projected Lineup:

Valeri Nuchshkin — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Tomas Tatar — Ryan Johansen — Jonathan Drouin
Miles Wood — Ross Colton — Logan O’Connor
Andrew Cogliano — Fredrik Olofsson — Joel Kiviranta

Devon Toews — Cale Makar
Bo Byram — Josh Manson
Jack Johnson — Caleb Jones
Sam Malinski

Note: Cale Makar didn’t play a second in last night’s overtime period. That is slightly concerning, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Sam Malinkski tonight!

Los Angeles Kings

The Kings had won five consecutive games before they lost their last game to the Washington Capitals. They outscored their opponents 20-5 over that winning streak and shut out the Montreal Canadiens. This LA team is talented and capable, so they have lofty ambitions.

They are deep, with Alex Lafierriere and Peirre-Luc Dubois on their third line. Add to that the experience and reliability of Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar, and you have a team that should do well this season. How will they fair against Colorado?

Projected Lineup:

Quinton Byfield — Anze Kopitar — Adrian Kempe
Kevin Fiala — Phillip Danault — Trevor Moore
Carl Grundstrom — Pierre-Luc Dubois — Alex Lafierriere
Jaret Anderson-Dolan — Trevor Lewis — Arthur Kaliyev

Mikey Anderson — Drew Doughty
Vladislav Gavrikov — Matt Roy
Andreas Englund — Jordan Spence

Goaltenders

It was Prosvetov’s net last night for the Avalanche, so expect usual starter Alexandar Georgiev to reclaim his spot in the blue paint tonight. We will likely see Cam Talbot for LA. Talbot is 10-4-1 this season with a 2.02 GAA and .928 SV %.