KINGS (6-2-2) at AVALANCHE (6-4-0)
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: This is the first of four meetings between the teams. Los Angeles swept the four-game set last season and outscored Colorado by a margin of 19-8 along the way.
: While the Kings came up short in an overtime loss at Phoenix on Saturday night, they must be awfully pleased to have world-class defenseman Drew Doughty
back in the lineup. The 21-year-old returned to action after missing five consecutive games with an upper-body injury. He was signed to an eight-year contract last month.
"Doughty is cleared, totally cleared, to do everything, to compete and battle and play the game," Kings coach Terry Murray told L.A. Kings Insider on Saturday afternoon. "And that's why we're going to put him in. If there was any doubt in anybody's mind, we certainly would not do it, because I don't want any kind of a setback. But he is ready to play."
Los Angeles entered Saturday's action having won five of its previous six games, but Daymond Langkow fanned the flames a bit as the Phoenix Coyotes earned a 3-2 overtime victory against the Kings at Jobing.com Arena. Mike Richards
and Anze Kopitar
scored for the Kings, while Jonathan Quick
made 30 saves.
"We played well enough to win the game," Murray said. "They had a player that stepped up big-time. Vrbata played a big-time game, two goals and set up the winning goal in overtime."
Colorado will be aiming to avoid a three-game skid Sunday, as it suffered its second straight loss with Friday's 3-1 setback against the Edmonton Oilers at the Pepsi Center. The Avs ran into a hot goaltender as Devan Dubnyk turned aside 40 shots for the Oilers.
"I think we played well," Avs rookie Gabriel Landeskog
said. "We created a lot of chances in front of the net. We got a lot of pucks to the goalie there, but we didn't seem to get the bounces and obviously their goalie played well."
: Kopitar tallied his fifth goal of the season for Los Angeles on Saturday night and has 13 points in 10 games, while Richards is averaging a point per game (2 goals, 8 assists). … Avs center Ryan O'Reilly
leads the club with 8 points (1 goal, 7 assists) in 10 games, while Paul Stastny
has 2 goals and 5 assists.
: Kings forward Simon Gagne
did not play Saturday night due to an undisclosed injury. … Peter Mueller
(concussion), Mark Olver
(head) and Brandon Yip
(forearm) are out indefinitely for Colorado.
: Kopitar's tally on Saturday was his first in his last 10 games against Phoenix. … O'Reilly is winning 60 percent of his faceoffs for the Avalanche.
: "That's three games lost at home right now. This should be our barn. We should be used to the air and we should be in better shape than most teams, and that's killing us right now." -- Avs center Ryan O'Reilly after Friday's loss to Edmonton