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Avalanche at Kings preview

Colorado trying gain in Central; Los Angeles has won season-high five straight

by Dan Greenspan / Independent Correspondent

AVALANCHE (41-19-8) at KINGS (27-35-6)

10:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-W, ALT2, NHL.TV


The Game

The Colorado Avalanche could move into a tie for first place in the Central Division when they play the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Monday.

The Avalanche, who are playing the second of a back-to-back following a 4-3 win at the San Jose Sharks on Sunday, are two points behind the St. Louis Blues, who host the Florida Panthers on Monday.

Colorado is 1-1-1 in its past three games after winning seven straight.

The Kings have won a season-high five straight games and are 6-1-1 in their past eight in Los Angeles.


Players to watch

Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) during an eight-game point streak, one shy of tying his NHL career high he set from Jan. 24-Feb. 8, 2014.

Kings forward Dustin Brown has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his past four games and needs one goal for 300 in the NHL.


They said it

"There's definite improvement in the group. I just think the consistency of our team game (is better). We talked a lot about staying committed on the defensive side of things; I think we've been doing that. We're not perfect every night, but I think there is some good, solid improvement there." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar

"We're getting very good games from some real key people up front, and I'm thinking of leaders. [Anze Kopitar], [Brown], [Alex] Iafallo, that line has been very good in playing against the opposition's top lines." -- Kings coach Todd McLellan 


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Vladislav Namestnikov   

Tyson Jost -- J.T. Compher -- Joonas Donskoi  

Martin Kaut -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Matt Nieto  

Sheldon Dries -- Vladislav Kamenev -- Valeri Nichushkin   

Samuel Girard -- Ryan Graves

Ian Cole -- Erik Johnson   

Kevin Connauton -- Mark Barberio

Pavel Francouz

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Nikita Zadorov, Logan O'Connor

Injured: Cale Makar (upper body), Andre Burakovsky (lower body), Philipp Grubauer (lower body), Mikko Rantanen (upper body), Nazem Kadri (lower body), Colin Wilson (lower body), Matt Calvert (lower body)


Kings projected lineup

Alex Iafallo -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown  

Adrian Kempe -- Blake Lizotte -- Trevor Lewis  

Trevor Moore -- Gabriel Vilardi -- Martin Frk  

Nikolai Prokhorkin -- Michael Amadio -- Austin Wagner   

Ben Hutton -- Drew Doughty

Mikey Anderson -- Matt Roy

Kurtis MacDermid -- Sean Walker

Jonathan Quick

Calvin Petersen

Scratched: Joakim Ryan

Injured: Jeff Carter (lower body)


Status report

Kaut was recalled from the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League on Monday. … Quick is expected to start after being the first goalie off the ice at practice on Monday. … Carter, a forward, continues to rehab and it is not known when he will be able to resume on-ice workouts, McLellan said.


Stat pack

MacKinnon has eight points (two goals, six assists) during a four-game point streak. … Iafallo has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past four games. … Kopitar has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past four games. 

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