AVALANCHE (23-10-1) at KINGS (24-8-4)
1:00PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 1150
SCORE-TACTIC: This is the second of three meetings with the Colorado Avalanche this season, and the final one at STAPLES Center. In the Kings’ first match-up with Colorado on November 23, they were unable to score, losing the game 1-0 in OT. Semyon Varlamov stopped all 19 Kings shots – the only goalie to shutout the Kings so far this season. Can the Kings bury a few today?
JUST A COUPLE: If the Kings can find a way to get a couple of pucks past Colorado’s goaltending today, they should be in good hands. The Kings lead the NHL in defense, topping the charts allowing just 1.86 goals per game. The Kings nearly shutout the San Jose Sharks Thursday night, who have the NHL’s fourth-best offensive corps. Colorado isn’t an easy team to score against, though, as they are tied for the sixth-best defense in the NHL, allowing just 2.32 goals per game. But, again, if the Kings can get a couple – they’ve got a sure chance.
WESTERN SHOOTOUT: The Kings are 2-1-1 against Colorado the past two seasons, picking up both of those wins at STAPLES Center last season. On April 11, 2013, the Kings snagged two points against the Avalanche with a perfect showing in the shootout, as Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, and Anze Kopitar all beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere to lock up the win.
EARLY AND OFTEN: The Kings are 18-2-2 this season when they score first, and a perfect 13-0-0 when they enter the third and final period with the lead. The Kings have shown the ability to bounce back from deficits, though, as they are a perfect .500 (6-6-2) when surrendering the first goal of a contest.
NO CLICHÉ HERE: Marc-Andre Cliche, who was claimed off of waivers by the Colorado Avalanche from the Kings on September 22, 2013, has played in 28 of Colorado’s 34 games this season. Cliche spent four seasons with the Kings’ AHL affiliate Manchester Monarchs, and played his debut NHL game, and his only game in a Kings uniform, on March 2, 2010. Cliche was a +1 with one hit and one blocked-shot on his NHL debut night in a Kings 5-1 win in Dallas. Cliche assisted on Colorado’s game-winning goal against the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night. Can the Kings keep their former prospect off the board today?
KING OF KINGS: Dwight King is having a season of dreams, notching 17 points (10 G, 7A) in 36 games this season. King has six points (3G, 3A) in the Kings’ last four games. Can he find twine this afternoon?
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE at 12:30PM PST on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center for puck-drop at 1:00PM PST.