The Los Angeles Kings are trying to stop an early season slump, but may have their work cut out for them with a grinding schedule that features four games - including three on the road - in the next six days.
The Kings (3-5-1) begin their tough stretch Monday against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.
Los Angeles has lost five of its last six games, including a 3-2 shootout loss Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks, getting outscored 16-10 during that stretch.
The Kings seemed to be building off Thursday's 4-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes, jumping out to a 2-0 lead after Lubomir Visnovsky and Michael Cammalleri scored first-period goals. But Los Angeles failed to score again, and Anaheim netted tallies in both the second and third periods to force overtime and the eventual shootout.
Alexander Frolov extended the shootout by converting in the third round, but Mathieu Garon allowed the game-winner to Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf two rounds later.
"We played good and hard," Kings defenseman Aaron Miller said. "Obviously, we don't like the end result, but that's the way we have to play."
It was the second time in the last three games Los Angeles has blown a lead and settled for one point in an overtime or shootout loss. The Kings lost 2-1 in overtime Wednesday to the Minnesota Wild.
Garon likely will give way to Dan Cloutier for this game. Cloutier, who is 1-3-1 with a 3.02 goals-against average thus far, is 8-7-2 lifetime against the Avalanche.
The Avalanche (3-3-2) are coming off an 8-5 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday that spoiled netminder Jose Theodore's return to Montreal. Colorado jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead on goals by Joe Sakic, Andrew Brunette and Paul Stastny, but Montreal scored five third-period goals in the final period for the win.
Theodore finished with 36 saves, but the eight goals allowed were a career high. He and defenseman Patrice Brisebois, also a former player for the Canadiens, were jeered by the Montreal fans, disappointing their current teammates.
"I think they played well for them all those years and they were lucky to have them," said Brunette, whose second goal of the game with 11:17 left tied it at 5. "If that's the way they feel about those guys, then shame on them."
Theodore is 3-2 with a 2.74 GAA lifetime against the Kings, but his victory against them last season was his first game versus Los Angeles since the 2001-02 season. Backup Peter Budaj helped the Avalanche get their only win against the Kings in four tries last season, making 21 saves in a 5-0 win March 20 that allowed Colorado to avoid a season sweep.
Los Angeles has won three of its last four games at the Pepsi Center.