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Tonight on NBCSN: Kings look to keep scoring against tumbling Avalanche

Feb 22, 2012, 8:51 AM EDT

Anze Kopitar, Semyon Varlamov AP

When the Los Angeles Kings roll into Denver tonight to take on the Colorado Avalanche (9:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN), they do so with a bitter taste in their mouth. After leaving Jonathan Quick on the short end of the stick more often than not, the Kings’ strong defense went out the window blowing a 3-0 lead on Phoenix and losing 5-4 in a shootout to the Coyotes.

The Kings are 4-7-2 over their last 13 games and have perilous grip on a spot in the top eight of the Western Conference playoff race. In that span goals have been hard to come by. In that span, five times they scored just once and they’ve been shutout three times — all losses. Last night’s loss is just the second time this year they’ve lost when they’ve scored three or more goals. For Darryl Sutter’s team, finding that mix of competent offense and defense is tricky.

Slumping to score when you have Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Mike Richards, and Dustin Brown there to put pucks in the net makes it all the more frustrating for Sutter. Going up against a slumping Colorado Avalanche team should cure what ails them.

While the Avs were busy acquiring Steve Downie from Tampa Bay yesterday, they’re mired in a slump that’s seen them lose 8 of their last 11 games. Over that span neither Semyon Varlamov nor Jean-Sebastien Giguere have been particularly strong in goal but their offense has been off as well.

The Avs are led by a bevy of young talent like Ryan O’Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog and the recently returned from injury stud Matt Duchene. Paul Stastny has been all right this season as well as their veteran leader, but with youth comes inconsistency and with the Avalanche four points back of Los Angeles for eighth in the West, having those young guys jell on the fly could put the Avs in the postseason.

  1. blomfeld - Feb 22, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    “The Kings are 20-4-6 when scoring first” …

    That friends is a statistical fact. Just as it’s a fact that the Kings are now poised to go on a wild “late-season” tear ! … a tear which will even get the attention of the Sisters ! That’s right. Making the playoffs is already an afterthought for us LA Kings fans … we’re gunning for top spot in the west ! It looked like it might start for us last night against Phoenix (ie: the NHL’s equivalent to Greece) but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. That doesn’t matter however, as it just means that the ball starts rolling tonight !

    Blomfeld’s prediction: Kings 9 – Avalanche 1

  2. jamesmakesurmomneal - Feb 22, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    Fluery with a statement shutout win vs the so called best team in the east. Why is this guy not mentioned in MVP talks?

  3. govtminion - Feb 22, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Is anyone else completely unable to figure out what the Avalanche are trying to be? They’ve made some really odd moves in the past couple of years that have me scratching my head. It almost seems like they’re making roster changes just for the sake of doing something- not with any real purpose or forethought in mind. I’m still very concerned for the shape of this franchise.

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