The Colorado Avalanche begins its first road trip of the 2020-21 season when it visits the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night for the first of a two-game set.
Colorado is coming off an 8-0 victory on Friday against the St. Louis Blues, the first win of the season for the club. Eight different players tallied multiple points for the Avs in the contest. Gabriel Landeskog scored twice, while Nathan MacKinnon (one goal, two assists) and Cale Makar (three assists) combined for six points. Defenseman Devon Toews picked up his first goal in an Avalanche sweater while also tacking on an assist. Philipp Grubauer stopped all 21 shots for his 12th career shutout, six of which have come with the Avalanche.
Los Angeles fell 4-3 in overtime against the Minnesota Wild for the second consecutive game on Saturday. Jeff Carter recorded two assists and Andreas Athanasiou tucked in his second goal of the campaign.
Tuesday's contest is the first of a four-game road trip for the Avalanche, which will also play the Anaheim Ducks twice. It is the first of eight matchups versus the Kings and the first of four at Staples Center.
Avalanche at Los Angeles Kings
Staples Center | Los Angeles, Calif.
COLORADO-LOS ANGELES CONNECTIONS
Avalanche assistant coach Ray Bennett spent seven years as an assistant coach for the Kings (1999-2006) … Kings general manager Rob Blake played parts of five seasons with Colorado, winning a Stanley Cup with the Avs in 2001 … Los Angeles center Trevor Moore played at the University of Denver from 2013-2016.
The clubs met three times during the 2019-20 season, with Colorado owning a 1-2-0 record in the season series. The Avs hosted the Kings in the 2020 NHL Stadium Series outdoor game at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, where Los Angeles earned a 3-1 victory. The teams went on to split the final two games, both of which were at Staples Center.
The Avs hold a 57-65-15 all-time franchise mark against the Kings, including a 16-23-9 record on the road since moving to Denver in 1995-96 (Colorado is 39-43-11 versus L.A. since moving). The Avalanche and Kings will face off as division foes for the first time since 1997-98 campaign when the organizations were members of the Pacific Division.
On Saturday, the Avalanche assigned defenseman Conor Timmins and Bowen Byram to its taxi squad, but it was more of a paper transaction. After practice on Sunday, Jared Bednar said Timmins is still in the starting rotation and noted that the forward lines will likely remain the same for Tuesday's contest. Bednar did not say which goalie will start in net.
Defender Erik Johnson joined the team for the first time on Sunday for practice; he missed all of training camp and the first two games due to league protocols following a positive COVID-19 test. Johnson is not expected to play in Tuesday's game at the Kings as he continues to get work on his conditioning.
SCOUTING THE KINGS
Los Angeles finished the 2019-20 season with 64 points (29-35-6), seventh in the Pacific Division. The organization has not made the postseason since the 2017-18 campaign.
Jeff Carter (one goal, three assists), Andreas Athanasiou (two goals) and Anze Kopitar (two assists) have led the way offensively for the Kings this year. Los Angeles captain Anze Kopitar leads the team with 47 points (17 goals, 30 assists) in 47 career games against Colorado, which is the second-most points against the Avs/Quebec Nordiques by any Kings player in franchise history. The Kings sport an 8-3-1 record over the Avalanche in the last 12 games between the clubs.
The Kings are one of eight teams this year to have not allowed a power-play goal against, with the penalty-kill unit going a perfect 11-for-11. The Avs are also on that list (6-for-6).
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: DREW DOUGHTY
The 2015-16 James Norris Memorial Trophy winner as the league's top defenseman is in his 13th season with the Los Angeles Kings, producing 503 points (117 goals, 386 assists) in 921 games. He is the all-time scoring leader for Los Angeles Kings defensemen and has played the sixth most games by any player in team history. In 39 matches against the Avs, Doughty (27 points) has accrued seven goals and 20 assists, the most by any Kings defenseman versus Colorado.
After two contests this season, Doughty has one assist and a minus-2 rating.
Colorado's eight-goal win on Friday was its second-largest margin of victory since Dec. 5, 1995 when the Avs beat the San Jose Sharks 12-2. The Avs also tied the franchise record for the largest margin of victory in a shutout, as the Nordiques blanked the Minnesota North Stars 8-0 on March 13, 1985.
Mikko Rantanen notched the 100th goal of his career in the victory versus St. Louis. He is the fifth player from the 2015 NHL Draft class to reach 100, joining Connor McDavid (165), Jack Eichel (137), Sebastian Aho (121) and Kyle Connor (106).
Gabriel Landeskog scored two goals against the Blues to reach 200 tallies for his career. The Avalanche captain is the seventh player in franchise history and the fourth in Avalanche history to reach the 200-goal milestone. He joins Nikita Kucherov (221) as the only members of the 2011 NHL Draft class to reach that threshold.
The Avalanche's five power-play goals on Friday night matched a franchise high for a game. It is the sixth time in franchise history that the Avs have tallied five man-advantage notches in a game and the second time since 1995-96 … Andre Burakovsky has scored a goal in each of the first two contests for the first time in his career… Colorado led all teams in road wins (24) and road points (50) last season, with the 24 victories equaling the second-most away wins in franchise history … Colorado sports a 10-2-0 record in its last 12 regular-season games on the road … Nathan MacKinnon's third-period tally was the 57th power-play goal of his career, moving him into a tie with Peter Forsberg for sixth on the franchise's all-time list.