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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 21st (All times Eastern)
Colorado Avalanche (23-10-1) at Los Angeles Kings (24-8-4), 4 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Kings will seek revenge against the only team that has shut them out this season, as they host the Colorado Avalanche in Saturday's afternoon showdown at the Staples Center.
Los Angeles hosted the Avalanche back on Nov. 23 and was dealt a 1-0 overtime loss as Jamie McGinn scored off a lucky bounce at 2:31 of the extra session for Colorado. After the clubs played scoreless hockey through regulation, McGinn fired a shot on net that Kings goaltender Ben Scrivens stopped only to see the rebound hit off his own player before trickling into the net.
Meanwhile, Semyon Varlamov made 19 saves for the shutout win, as Colorado beat L.A. for the sixth time in eight meetings. It was also the third loss for the Kings in their last five home tilts versus the Avs.
Last month's loss against Colorado was part of a 1-1-3 stretch for the Kings at the end of November, but L.A. has won eight of nine games so far in December.
After losing Sunday in Chicago, the Kings have bounced back by going 2-0 so far on a four-game homestand. Los Angeles notched a 3-0 win Tuesday against Edmonton and then posted a 4-1 decision against the rival San Jose Sharks on Thursday.
Martin Jones made 31 saves against the Sharks to earn the win, as the rookie improved to 7-0-0 in seven career games. The NHL record for consecutive wins to start an NHL career belongs to Bob Froese, who went 8-0-0 to begin his career with Philadelphia in 1982-83.
Jones should get a chance to tie that record today, as he is expected to get a third straight start over Scrivens.
Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli and Dwight King each had one goal and an assist in Thursday's win, while Alec Martinez added the other score.
"I don't think our team ever really struggles with confidence. It does not really matter what the score is, I don't think confidence is an issue for our team," said Kings coach Darryl Sutter.
The Kings won on Thursday despite playing most of the game without captain Dustin Brown, who was ejected in the first period for a knee-on-knee hit against San Jose's Tomas Hertl. Hertl could miss a month or more after getting injured on the play, but Brown will not face a suspension by the league for delivering the hit.
Defenseman Willie Mitchell is questionable for the Kings after sitting out the last three games with an upper-body injury.
Los Angeles, which will cap this homestand Monday against Dallas, has identical 12-4-2 records at home and on the road this season.
While the Kings enter today's test on a roll, Colorado has been up-and-down in recent weeks, going 4-4-1 since the start of December.
The Avs did win for the second time in three games when they posted Thursday's home win over the Edmonton Oilers. Maxime Talbot's shorthanded goal late in the second period proved to be the difference in Colorado's 4-2 victory.
Talbot added the go-ahead goal just under 3 1/2 minutes after his teammate Ryan O'Reilly knotted the score at 2-2 with 5:00 left in the second. Marc- Andre Cliche picked off a lazy pass in the Colorado zone and raced up ice before backhanding a pass to Talbot, who went backhand on Devan Dubnyk for a 3-2 edge.
"That was a great cutoff and pass by Cliche. I just closed my eyes and put it in," Talbot said.
Matt Duchene had an empty-net goal and two assists for the Avs, who received 27 saves from Varlamov in the win.
Colorado is kicking off a three-game road trip on Saturday and is 11-5-0 as the guest this season.
In off-ice news for the Avs, Varlamov had domestic violence charges against him dropped on Friday after prosecutors said they couldn't prove the case against him beyond a reasonable doubt. Varlamov was arrested in October for allegedly attacking his girlfriend during a dispute at their Denver home.
12/21 10:54:19 ET