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Kings need win against struggling Avs

by Sergei J. Feldman
AVALANCHE (28-37-8) at KINGS (42-26-6)

TV -- ALT (HD), FS-W (HD)

Last 10 -- Colorado 2-7-1; Los Angeles 6-2-2

Season series -- This is the fourth and final meeting between the two Western Conference opponents with Los Angeles going for the sweep. The Kings' offense has been prolific against the Avs this season, scoring at least four goals in each contest.

Big story -- The Kings are part of the scrum battling for the final playoff berths in the Western Conference and need to help themselves by beating the out-of-contention Avs, who've won two of their last three after losing 20 of 21 games to drop out of the race.

Team scope:

Avalanche -- The Avs ended a 10-game losing streak last Saturday with a shootout win in Edmonton, then beat Columbus in another shootout on Tuesday. They played hard against Toronto on Thursday, but came up a goal short in a 4-3 loss.

"We found a way to claw back into it and we had a couple of chances when we pulled the goalie," coach Joe Sacco said after the loss to the Leafs. "But we weren't able to capitalize. I like the fact that we played to the end, but catch-up hockey is tough to play in this League."

Kings -- The Kings need every point they can get, so losing to the 29th-place team in the overall standings in the finale of a five-game homestand isn't an option. The Kings let San Jose escape with a point by scoring in the final seconds of regulation on Thursday, but won the shootout for a 4-3 victory and two much-needed points.

"Obviously we're trying to make a push and that's a team that we want to jump in the standings and try to win the Pacific Division here," goalie Jonathan Quick said following the win. "They sneak a point out of it and I think we outplayed them for a majority of the game and we played a solid game as a team. At the end of the day, we got two points and you can't complain about that."

Who's hot -- Colorado's Matt Duchene's six-game point streak, in which he's collected 9 points, including three straight two-point outings in that stretch, has led the way for the Avalanche. … Kings captain Dustin Brown had 2 goals on Thursday and has 5 points in his last five games.

Injury report -- Colorado will be without defenseman Ryan Wilson, who injured his knee on Thursday and is listed as day-to-day; Mark Olver (head) and Philippe Dupuis (illness( are also day-to-day, and captain Adam Foote remains out with an ankle injury. … The Kings are getting used to life without top-line right wing Justin Williams after he had shoulder surgery this week.

Stat pack -- One area in which both teams have excelled in the shootout. Colorado has won five of its six tiebreakers, while the Kings' win against the Sharks on Thursday gave them a League-high nine wins in 11 shootouts. Quick is 9-0 in the tiebreaker this season.

Puck drop -- Joe Sakic, the greatest player in Avs history, will join the team as an Executive Advisor/Alternate Governor, a position he'll begin at the end of the 2010-11 season.

"I feel that now is the time for this new challenge," Sakic said Friday, when his return was announced.. "Two years after retiring from the game of hockey, and having had the opportunity to attend the Board of Governors meeting, I feel excited about getting involved with the organization. The fact that the Avalanche is giving me this opportunity shows how much they trust my background and hockey experience. I look forward to this new expanded role with the franchise."

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