KINGS (26-18-12) at AVALANCHE (24-22-11)
7:00PM PT, TV: NBC SPORTS NETWORK; RADIO: AM 790 KABC
VISITING DENVER: Tonight marks the first of three meetings with the Avalanche this season, and the first of two at Colorado’s Pepsi Center. The Kings will visit Colorado one more time in March, and the Avalanche will pay a visit to STAPLES Center in April. The Avalanche are finishing up their four-game home stand, where they’ve posted a 2-1-0 record thus far. Colorado is coming off of a 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night. The Kings are beginning a two-game road trip tonight, they’re riding a six-game win streak and are coming off of a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night.
DESPERATION STATION: Both the Kings and Avalanche find themselves on the outside looking in at the NHL’s playoff standings. The Kings have inched back to within two points of the Western Conference’s second and final wild-card spot with their five-game win streak; the Avalanche find themselves seven points out of a playoff position. With a win tonight, the Kings can catch the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference standings prior to their match up in the NHL’s Stadium Series on Saturday night.
LINEUP NOTES: Per Jon Rosen, who attended the Kings’ morning skate at the Pepsi Center, reported that there are expected to be no changes to the Kings’ lineup from Monday night’s game against Tampa Bay. Andy Andreoff and Derek Forbort are expected to be healthy scratches; Jonathan Quick will make his 13th straight start.
GABORIK – KOPITAR – LEWIS
KING – CARTER – TOFFOLI
BROWN – STOLL – WILLIAMS
CLIFFORD –SHORE – NOLAN
REGEHR – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – GREENE
MCNABB – MCBAIN
HOMETOWN BOY: Nick Shore will play in his 12th-career NHL game tonight alongside Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan on the Kings’ fourth line. Shore was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, and played three seasons in the WCHA with the University of Denver. Shore played a preseason game with the Kings at the Pepsi Center during the 2013 preseason, but this will be his first regular season game with the Kings in this building.
VARLAMOV: The Kings will face Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov tonight; he’s making his 14th-straight start for the Avalanche. In seven career starts against the Kings, Varlamov has posted a 5-2-0 record, including a shutout on November 23 of last season at STAPLES Center.
WHO’S HOT: Dwight King has points in four straight games, three of them multi-point games. During his four-game streak, King has totaled in with seven points (3G, 4A). Jeff Carter is also on a four-game point streak, also totaling in with seven points (2G, 5A) during that span. Tyler Toffoli has seven points (5G, 2A) in his last five games.
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings’ previous visit to the Pepsi Center on February 26 of last season, the Kings came away with a 6-4 win. After fining themselves down 4-2 late in the second period, the Kings reeled off four consecutive goals to pocket the win. The win put an end to the Kings’ three-game losing streak in that building. Anze Kopitar registered three points (2G, 1A), including the game-winning goal early in the third period. Martin Jones made 25 saves in the win.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network, with coverage starting just prior to puck drop at 7:00PM PT. You can listen to the game live with Daryl Evans and Nick Nickson on AM 790 KABC.