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Kings-Avalanche Preview @NHLdotcom
Kings-Avalanche Preview

GAME: Los Angeles Kings (23-14-1) at Colorado Avalanche (19-15-3).

TIME: Wednesday, 9 p.m. EST.

It doesn't matter who starts in goal for the Colorado Avalanche if they continue making comebacks like one Monday night.

The Avalanche look to win three straight home games for the first time since the beginning of November when they host the Los Angeles Kings.

Colorado trailed the Phoenix Coyotes 3-0 in the first period Monday before scoring three times in eight minutes to tie the game. The Avalanche then scored four times in the third period en route to a 7-4 victory.

"That was definitely a strange game," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "We had a couple of games where we had the three-goal lead and let it get away from us earlier in the year. I liked the way we battled back. Even though we were down by three goals, we were still positive."

Colorado last won four in a row at home from Oct. 25-Nov. 3.

Vitaly Kolesnik started in goal against the Coyotes but was yanked after allowing two goals in the first three minutes. Peter Budaj came in and settled the team down. Both played because former starter David Aebischer, who spent most of the season in net, has been ineffective lately and was a scratch.

"Three goalies is a tough situation to be in and we will address that at the right time, though I don't want to say when," Quenneville said. "We responded tonight to a tough start in net, and Budaj helped stabilize us tonight. I thought he was solid. The first goal on him was tipped."

Aebischer has appeared in only three games since Nov. 30, allowing 14 goals in those contests.

Los Angeles continued its strong play with a 4-3 victory Tuesday over the Sharks, the fifth win in six games for the Kings.

Craig Conroy scored a goal for the Kings on a 5-on-3, and Los Angeles went 3-for-6 on the power play. The Kings were just 3-for-35 with the man advantage in their previous four games, including a 0-for-12 effort in a 5-3 loss Friday to the Edmonton Oilers.

"We're finding ways to score goals," Conroy said. "This effort gives us some confidence. Hopefully, we can get our power play going on all cylinders after tonight."

Conroy has a four-game goal-scoring streak while Michael Cammalleri, who also scored on the power play against the Sharks, has scored five times in the last five games.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 27): Kings - 47 points, 1st place (tied), Pacific Division. Avalanche - 41 points, 4th place, 5 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Kings - Pavol Demitra, 18 goals and 46 points; Demitra and Lubomir Visnovsky, 28 assists; Sean Avery, 129 PIM. Avalanche - Marek Svatos, 20 goals; Alex Tanguay, 28 assists; Joe Sakic and Tanguay, 40 points; Ian Laperriere, 59 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 27): Kings - Power play: 15 percent (39 for 260), 25th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.7 percent (197 for 241), 19th. Avalanche - Power play: 19.2 percent (45 for 234), 7th. Penalty killing: 84.8 percent (178 for 210), 6th.

GOALTENDERS: Kings - Mathieu Garon (15-8-0, 0 SO, 2.72 GAA); Jason LaBarbera (8-6-1, 2.90). Avalanche - Budaj (5-5-3, 2.75); Kolesnik (3-3-0, 3.29).

SEASON SERIES: Kings, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 19; Kings, 4-3. At Los Angeles, Demitra had a hat trick, including the game-winner on a power play with 3:32 remaining.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Kings - 10-8-1 on the road; Avalanche - 10-5-3 at home.

Associated Press
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