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Preview: Kings at Avalanche

Los Angeles tries to end three-game losing streak; goalie Calvin Pickard starts for Colorado

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

KINGS (28-26-4) at AVALANCHE (16-38-3)

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


Kings team scope

The Los Angeles Kings have lost three games in a row and are 1-5-0 in their past six. They've been shut out three times during that stretch and are 2-for-17 on the power play. The Kings are two points behind the Calgary Flames for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. "We haven't been very good," defenseman Drew Doughty said. "Some games we play well defensively and we don't score any goals, and some games we do score but we let in too many. We need to kind of put it together consistently. We'd like to be comfortably in a playoff spot and rolling through and hopefully competing for first in the [Pacific Division], but we go through this every year. We know what it takes to get back in the playoffs, but right now we haven't been playing great. We can't be waiting around. Tonight's a must win for us." Goalie Peter Budaj is expected to make his 12th consecutive start. Coach Darryl Sutter needs one win to tie Andy Murray (215) for the most in Kings history. He will coach his 1,262nd NHL game, tying Jacques Lemaire for 13th place all-time.


Avalanche team scope

Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar didn't rule out recalling a defenseman from San Antonio of the American Hockey League in the wake of Nikita Zadorov's season-ending broken ankle. Zadorov was injured at practice Monday in a collision with Mikko Rantanen, leaving the Avalanche with six healthy defensemen. "It's disappointing," Bednar said of the injury to Zadorov, who had 10 assists and 153 hits in 56 games. "You see a young guy that's part of the future of the organization and he's quietly having a season that's progressing. He's played top pair for us since [Erik Johnson] has gone out of the lineup (because of a broken fibula Dec. 3) and has been doing a nice job. Now he's going to have to take a step back for seven weeks. We'll miss him going down the stretch here." Cody Goloubef, a healthy scratch the past two games, will replace Zadorov. Goalie Calvin Pickard will make his fourth consecutive start. He is 1-1-1 with a 1.96 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in his past three games. The Avalanche are 1-0-1 in their past two games and 2-1-1 in their past four at home.


Kings projected lineup

Anze Kopitar -- Tyler Toffoli --- Trevor Lewis 

Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Dustin Brown 

Kyle Clifford -- Nic Dowd -- Marian Gaborik 

Dwight King -- Nick Shore -- Adrian Kempe

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Alec Martinez 

Brayden McNabb -- Paul LaDue 

Peter Budaj

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Andy Andreoff , Kevin Gravel  

Injured: Matt Greene (undisclosed), Jordan Nolan (muscle pull), Jonathan Quick (groin)


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Matt Nieto

Blake Comeau -- Matt Duchene -- Mikko Rantanen

Mikhail Grigorenko -- John Mitchell -- Jarome Iginla

Andreas Martinsen -- Carl Soderberg -- Joe Colborne

Fedor Tyutin -- Tyson Barrie

Francois Beauchemin -- Cody Goloubef

Patrick Wiercioch -- Mark Barberio

Calvin Pickard

Jeremy Smith

Scratched: None

Injured: Rene Bourque (head), Erik Johnson (broken fibula), Nikita Zadorov (broken ankle), Semyon Varlamov (hip surgery)


Status report

Quick, who was injured in the season opener on Oct. 12, faced shots at the morning skate and could return in early March. … Nolan, who was hurt Feb. 1, also skated and is getting close to returning. ... Bourque and Johnson are practicing while wearing non-contact jerseys. Bourque was injured Feb. 1, Johnson on Dec. 3. "Hopefully we can get those guys back in the lineup in the near future," Bednar said.


Who's hot

Carter has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his past nine games. Pearson has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his past four games. Brown has four points (two goals, two assists) in his past four games. ... Rantanen has scored in back-to-back games and has 10 points (seven goals, three assists) in his past 12 games. Duchene has three points (one goal, two assists) and Barrie has two points (one goal, one assist) in Colorado's past two games.

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