After winning its 1000th game since moving to Denver on Sunday in Anaheim, the Colorado Avalanche (10-6-4) continues its Pacific Division road trip up the freeway in Southern California. The Avalanche takes on the Los Angeles Kings (7-12-1) at Staples Center on Wednesday in the first of three matchups between the Western Conference squads this season.
Colorado holds an all-time mark of 36-41-10 against Los Angeles (since 1995-96), which includes a 14-22-9 record on the road.
After the game, the Avs will head east to Arizona to close out the three-game trip. The team plays at the Arizona Coyotes on Friday in the first half of a back-to-back stint that concludes on Saturday at Pepsi Center against the Dallas Stars.
Last Time Out
On Sunday, Mikko Rantanen had another multi-point night (his ninth this year), notching two assists and the game-winning goal in overtime as Colorado won 4-3 over the Anaheim Ducks. Patrik Nemeth and Vladislav Kamenev registered helpers on Sven Andrighetto's opening tally and Tyson Barrie recorded an apple on a power-play goal by Nathan MacKinnon, but the rest of the Avalanche's points came from its top line of Rantanen, MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog. MacKinnon also registered three points (one goal, two assists) while Landeskog scored the game-tying marker and notched an assist on Rantanen's game-winner. Colorado went 2-for-2 on the power play, and the team outshot the Ducks 42-33. Avs goalie Philipp Grubauer stopped 30 shots.
The Kings shutout the St. Louis Blues 2-0 on Monday, earning their fifth win in the past 10 games. After a scoreless first period, Matt Luff notched his first NHL goal in the second period, with assists from Adrian Kempe and newly-acquired forward Carl Hagelin. Anze Kopitar registered his sixth tally of the year with an empty-netter late in the third frame. Goaltender Calvin Petersen recorded his first NHL shutout, stopping all 29 shots the Blues sent his way.
Last Time They Met
Despite outshooting the Kings 28-25, the Avalanche fell 3-1 in the last outing between the two squads on April 2 in L.A. Torrey Mitchell, Dustin Brown and Kyle Clifford all notched markers for the Kings, but they were held scoreless on two power plays. Alexander Kerfoot tallied for the Avs in the second period, converting on a man-advantage chance. Colorado netminder Jonathan Bernier stopped 22-of-25 pucks.
What To Watch
Colorado has played it cool under pressure so far this season. In the first 20 outings of 2018-19, the team has won four games after trailing in the first period (tied for second in the league) and three when behind in the second (tied for fourth in the league). The Avalanche also leads the NHL in win percentage (.500) when trailing in the second stanza. In addition, the Avs are second in the league for third-frame scoring, having recorded 28 tallies in the final 20 minutes this season.
The Avalanche had a 100-percent success rate on the power play in its last contest, marking the second time this season the squad has had a perfect record on the man advantage (Nov. 14 vs. Bruins). With a 30.3-percent conversion mark, Colorado stands second in the league on the power play. In addition, the Avs hold a 29.3-percent success rate in man-advantage opportunities on the road, which ranks fifth in the NHL and first in the Western Conference.
Players To Watch
Colorado: Left Wing Gabriel Landeskog
With 13 tallies in 20 games, Colorado captain Landeskog is tied for fifth in the league for goal-scoring. The forward is also tied for the NHL lead for plus-minus rating (plus-13). Landeskog has excelled on the road this year, racking up 15 points (10 goals, five assists) while playing away from Denver. The Stockholm, Sweden, native also paces the team in points against the Los Angeles Kings, specifically, having recorded 14 (seven goals, seven assists) in 22 career outings.
Los Angeles: Left Wing Ilya Kovalchuk
A seasoned veteran, the 35-year-old Kovalchuk is in his first season with the Kings and leads them in scoring with 14 points (five goals, nine assists). The forward has notched two three-point games so far during the 2018-19 campaign (Nov. 6 vs Anaheim; Oct. 28 vs. N.Y. Rangers) and 12 of his 14 points have come at home. Kovalchuk has registered 830 points (422 goals, 208 assists) in 836 career games in the NHL.
Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov will start in net for Wednesday's contest at Los Angeles. He will look to win his 200th career game, which would make him the fifth Russian goaltender to accomplish the feat.
Wednesday's matchup between the Avalanche and the Kings is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. MT. The game can be watched live locally on Altitude or streamed on select devices with the Altitude Now app (in market) or NHL.tv (out of market). The radio broadcast can be heard on AM 950, Altitude Sports Radio in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.