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Avalanche Continues Back-to-Back Set Against Kings

by Danielle Bernstein / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche plays the second half of a back-to-back set on Wednesday night, taking on the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. This will be the second of three games between the Avs and the Kings this season and the only one that Colorado will play on the road in the 2016-17 series. Los Angeles will make its final trip to the Mile High City on Feb. 21.

The Avs have a 36-37-9 all-time record against Los Angeles and are 14-20-8 on the road in the overall series. Colorado won the last matchup at Staples Center just over a year ago, taking a 4-3 win on Jan. 27, 2016.

 

Last Time Out

The Avalanche came within one goal of Anaheim in the second stanza, but the Ducks scored three third-period markers to hand Colorado a 5-1 loss on Tuesday night. Mikko Rantanen notched the lone goal for the Avalanche, which was scoreless on four power-play opportunities.

Jake Muzzin's power-play tally with 1:49 left in regulation lifted the Kings to a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night, their third-straight win. Anze Kopitar paced the Kings with a goal and two assists, and Peter Budaj stopped 30 shots. 

 

Last Time They Met

The Avs took a decisive 4-1 win over the Kings at Pepsi Center on Nov. 15. Defenseman Patrick Wiercioch tallied a goal and an assist, and Rene Bourque, Blake Comeau and Gabriel Landeskog also potted goals for Colorado. Dustin Brown pulled L.A. within one late in the second period, but the Avalanche scored two, including Landeskog's empty-netter, in the third to seal the win. All four of Colorado's tallies came at even strength, and Semyon Varlamov finished with 32 saves. 

Video: Keefe and Rycroft preview tonight's game

What to Watch

Back-to-Backs

This will conclude the sixth of 11 back-to-back sets that Colorado has this season. They have fared better in the second game, posting a 3-2-0 record, which includes a win over the Chicago Blackhawks in the second game of their last back-to-back on Dec. 23. All three wins in the second contest of the two-in-two sets have come on the road.

Wednesday's game is also the second half of a back-to-back for the Kings, who topped the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night before returning home for tonight's contest. Los Angeles has played seven sets of back-to-back games this season and is 4-2-1 in the second contest.

Shooting

The Kings put an average of 30.6 shots on goal per game, which ranks eighth in the NHL. They've been led by Jeff Carter, whose 149 shots--nearly three per game--ranks first on the team. His 16.1 shooting percentage is also tops amongst Los Angeles skaters and 12th in the league amongst players who have taken 100 or more shots. On the other end of the ice, the Kings' 25.9 shots against per game is a league low.

 

Player to Watch

Colorado: Right wing Mikko Rantanen

Rantanen picked up his eighth goal of the season on Tuesday night and has now tallied a marker in each of his last two games. He ranks fourth on the team with 20 points, and since the calendar flipped to 2017, Rantanen's 15.8 shooting percentage ranks first on the team.

Los Angeles: Goaltender Peter Budaj

The former Avalanche goaltender earned his third consecutive win on Tuesday. His 2.06 goals against average ranks third amongst NHL keepers who have played 20 or more games, and his 43 games played is second only to Edmonton's Cam Talbot.

 

The Details

Wednesday's contest will be nationally broadcast on NBCSN. Fans can tune into the radio broadcast on 92.5 The Wolf or listen in online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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