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Kings' Jones, Avalanche's Giguere likely to match up

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche are looking to pick up where they left off before the Olympic break when they play the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday at Pepsi Center, while the Kings are hoping to get back on the winning track.

The Avalanche (37-16-5) are 11-4-1 in their past 16 games and sit third in the Central Division, five points behind the first-place St. Louis Blues and second-place Chicago Blackhawks.

The Kings (31-22-6) are on a 2-8-1 slide and third in the Pacific Division, four points ahead of the ninth-place Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference.

Each team is expected to start its backup goalie, Jean-Sebastien Giguere for the Avalanche and Martin Jones for the Kings. Colorado's Semyon Varlamov played for Russia at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick was in net for the United States.

"I feel everyone is feeling really good and recharged and ready to go," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "I was pleased with the intensity that we had in our practices. It's going to be a challenge, but I think we have quality people here and I'm very confident that we'll do well."

Center Matt Duchene, who played on Canada's gold medal-winning team, got plenty of sleep after arriving Monday and skated for the second day in a row Wednesday. Duchene was one of four Avalanche players to go to Sochi.

"My mentality right now is it's back to work with this team," he said. "I was so excited to see my teammates again. I love this group so much in here. They're all like family and it was great to get back on the ice with them. I wanted to adjust to the small ice again and get a feel for everything. I don't want to live in the past, I want to come back and be ready to play."

Six Kings players took part in the Olympics, including defenseman Drew Doughty and forward Jeff Carter, who played for Canada in the gold-medal game Sunday.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter said he isn't going to monitor their minutes, even though his team will play again Thursday against the Calgary Flames to complete a two-game road trip, and Saturday at home against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Doughty and Carter flew from Russia to Denver, rather than to Los Angeles, to cut down on some of the rigorous travel.

"It's an 11-hour time change to here and having to fly 11 hours, it's tough to adjust in a few days," Doughty said. "You still don't feel the greatest, but I'll get in a good nap and I should be ready for the game. It doesn't help that we're coming to the high altitude, but there's nothing we can do about it."

Here are the projected lineups:


Tyler Toffoli -- Anze Kopitar -- Justin Williams

Tanner Pearson -- Mike Richards -- Jeff Carter

Dwight King -- Jarret Stoll -- Dustin Brown

Jordan Nolan -- Linden Vey -- Trevor Lewis

Jake Muzzin -- Drew Doughty

Robyn Regehr -- Slava Voynov

Willie Mitchell -- Matt Greene

Martin Jones

Jonathan Quick

Scratched: Kyle Clifford, Matt Frattin, Alec Martinez


Ryan O'Reilly -- Matt Duchene -- PA Parenteau

Gabriel Landeskog -- Paul Stastny -- Nathan MacKinnon

Maxime Talbot -- John Mitchell -- Jamie McGinn

Cody McLeod -- Marc-Andre Cliche -- Patrick Bordeleau

Jan Hejda -- Nick Holden

Andre Benoit -- Nate Guenin

Ryan Wilson -- Tyson Barrie

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Semyon Varlamov

Scratched: Cory Sarich

Injured: David Van Der Gulik (head), Alex Tanguay (hip surgery)

Suspended: Erik Johnson

NOTES: Talbot's fiancée is expecting their first child any day, so it's possible he won't play against the Kings. If that's the case, McLeod would move up to his spot on the third line and Sarich would dress as a seventh defenseman ... Defenseman Erik Johnson is serving the first game of a two-game suspension for his slash against the New York Islanders' Frans Nielsen in a Feb. 8 game.

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