Avalanch head to LA looking to defeat the Kings
The Avalanche: 1-1-0
Los Angeles Kings: 0-0-2
Puck drop: 8:00 p.m. MT
Watch: Altitude, NHLTV, Sportsnet
Listen: Altitude 92.5, AM 950
The Colorado Avalanche start a four-game road trip in California today. They play the Los Angeles Kings twice and then the Anaheim Ducks twice. This is a huge chance for the Avs to take some serious points. However, they can’t look too far ahead. The Kings are coming off two heartbreaking losses to the Minnesota Wild and will want revenge. As with any NHL team, they can’t be taken lightly.
If Colorado sticks to their game they should be solid against LA, however, this is the NHL and crazier things have happened.
The Avalanche are coming off a split with the St. Louis Blues where they were outplayed in game one and then absolutely dominated the following game. Fresh off of an 8-0 victory, the Avalanche will look to keep that momentum going here tonight.
Brandon Saad is a name to keep an eye on tonight as he managed to stay off the scoresheet against the Blues. He’s yet to find a point with the Avs but that will come. It will also be interesting to see how the goalies are split over this trip Phillip Grubauer has gotten both starts so far, which would suggest he is their starter. However, it will only be a matter of time before Pavel Francouz plays his way into some games as well. Wouldn’t be shocking to see the goalies split the series against LA this week.
Devon Toews is another name to keep an eye on as his transition into an Avs uniform hasn’t been exactly seamless. He had a beautiful goal on Friday night to make it 8-0 on the powerplay. However, at 5v5 he has struggled in a very small sample size. Again, nothing to worry about but it will be interesting to see him continue and get his feet underneath him.
Erik Johnson and Bo Byram have been skating with the team but it is unlikely either will draw into the lineup tonight.
UPDATE: with the injury to Andre Burakovsky, the Avalanche have decided to go with 11 forwards and 7 defenders, meaning Erik Johnson will be be making his season debut tonight.
Further update: Dennis Gilbert will dress tonight following the Ian Cole trade
Gabriel Landeskog – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Brandon Saad – Nazem Kadri – Joonas Donskoi
Tyson Jost – J.T. Compher – Val Nichushkin
Matt Calvert – P-E Bellmare
Devon Toews – Cale Makar
Samuel Girard – Ryan Graves
Dennis Gilbert – Conor Timmins
Los Angeles Kings
The Kings lost two games they gave up late to the Minnesota Wild. In both, they got a point, but both were disappointing outcomes for LA. They’re a team without many expectations this season but having four points while keeping an opponent at zero sounds much better than just two points. They let in two goals in the third to tie it in game one and in game two got scored on with one second left to lose.
A disappointing way to go out but they’ll be looking for some revenge. The Kings are a team that looks like you can’t walk in assuming you will win. Do that, and you’re going to be in trouble. They have some skill in guys like Anze Kopitar and Gabriel Vilardi along with some speed in guys like Andreas Athanasiou. The Avalanche need their top-six to play strong and that should dictate the pace of this game.
Lines (Taken from JewelsFromTheCrown)
Alex Iaffalo — Anze Kopitar — Dustin Brown
Andreas Athanasiou — Blake Lizotte — Jeff Carter
Adrian Kempe — Gabriel Vilardi — Austin Wagner
Trevor Moore — Michael Amadio — Matt Luff
Olli Maatta — Drew Doughty
Mikey Anderson — Matt Roy
Kurtis MacDermid — Sean Walker