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Preview: Kings at Avalanche

Los Angeles missing center Anze Kopitar, Avalanche without forward Matt Duchene

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Correspondent

KINGS (7-8-1) at AVALANCHE (6-8-0)

TV: 9 p.m. ET; ALT, FS-W, NHL.TV

 

Kings team scope

Center Anze Kopitar didn't skate Tuesday and will miss his second game because of an upper-body injury. "Every day we keep seeing improvement and we'll go from there," coach Darryl Sutter said. "Hopefully he'll skate tomorrow." Goalie Peter Budaj was first off the ice after the morning skate and is expected to start for the Los Angeles Kings. Budaj spent his first six NHL seasons with the Colorado Avalanche from 2005-11 and ranks fourth in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history with 101 wins. "He's been solid, but we need to win games," Sutter said. "He hasn't played well enough to steal us a game in the last three or four [games]. There's always points in the season where goalies do win you games by themselves." The Kings are 1-2-1 in the first four games of a five-game road trip and are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday. Los Angeles was outscored 9-4 in the past three games after a 7-0 road win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 8. Sutter is putting together a line of left wing Tanner Pearson , center Jeff Carter and right wing Tyler Toffoli. "Our wingers have been awfully quiet, Tanner and Tyler," he said. The power play is 1-for-30 in the past nine games. "Offensively, we need to pick up a lot," defenseman Drew Doughty said. "We need to put more pucks at the net. When we're giving up two goals we should be winning games, that's just the bottom line. We need to start putting pucks in. The power play needs to come up big for us, and it hasn't so far this season. It's about time that it does because it can make a big difference."

 

Avalanche team scope

Colorado center Matt Duchene was on the ice for the first time since sustaining a head injury Friday; he took part in the morning skate but wore a non-contact jersey. Duchene will miss his second consecutive game. "We'll see what tomorrow brings, but we're taking it day by day right now," coach Jared Bednar said. "Hopefully he starts feeling good this afternoon and then we'll progress him again tomorrow and we might be able to see him in some contact." Goalie Semyon Varlamov will start after stopping 44 of 45 shots Sunday in the Avalanche's 2-0 home loss to the Boston Bruins. Colorado will shuffle its lines in an attempt to generate more offense; the Avalanche have eight goals in their past seven games, and one was an own goal by the Winnipeg Jets. Joe Colborne, who hasn't scored since a hat trick in the season opener against the Dallas Stars on Oct. 15, will move to the top line with left wing Gabriel Landeskog and center Nathan MacKinnon. "We need him to start producing," Bednar said of Colborne. Jarome Iginla, who has two goals in 14 games, will skate with left wing Blake Comeau and center John Mitchell. "We need to do what's right for our team," Bednar said. "I think he can help that line produce. We need some production throughout our lineup, it can't just be our top guys. We need to find some secondary scoring, some primary scoring, really, at this point. We have to find something that works, we can't just leave it the way it is."

 

Kings projected lineup

Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Tyler Toffoli

Dwight King -- Trevor Lewis -- Teddy Purcell

Dustin Brown -- Nic Dowd -- Devin Setoguchi

Kyle Clifford -- Nick Shore -- Jordan Nolan

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Alec Martinez

Kevin Gravel -- Tom Gilbert

Peter Budaj

Jack Campbell

Scratched: Matt Greene

Injured: Andy Andreoff (upper body), Marian Gaborik (broken foot), Anze Kopitar (upper body), Brayden McNabb (arm), Jonathan Quick (lower body), Jeff Zatkoff (groin)

 

Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Joe Colborne

Rene Bourque -- Carl Soderberg -- Mikko Rantanen

Blake Comeau -- John Mitchell -- Jarome Iginla

Andreas Martinsen -- Mikhail Grigorenko -- Cody McLeod

Nikita Zadorov -- Erik Johnson

Fedor Tyutin -- Tyson Barrie

Francois Beauchemin -- Patrick Wiercioch

Semyon Varlamov

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Eric Gelinas

Injured: Matt Duchene (head)

 

Status report

Zatkoff took part in the morning skate but won't dress for the second game in a row. ... Comeau will play after missing four games because of a groin injury, so the Avalanche returned left wing A.J. Greer to San Antonio of the American Hockey League. Wiercioch returns after being a healthy scratch for the past two games.

 

Who's hot

Carter has three goals and three assists in his past six games. Purcell has an assist in back-to-back games. … Bourque has three goals in the past three games. Varlamov has stopped 60 of 63 shots in the past two games.

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