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AVALANCHE (16-5-0) at KINGS (15-6-2)
7:30PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 1150
SCORING FIRST?: The Kings need to find the scoreboard first tonight. Much of the Colorado Avalanche’s success this season can be directed toward their knack to score first. Life’s a lot better when you can start with a lead to hang on to. Colorado has scored the first goal in 14 of their 21 games this season. When doing so, they’re 14-0-0. Phenomenal. It’s perfect. The Kings must be the first club to find the net tonight. The frustrations carrying over from Thursday should be more than enough motivation.
BIG TEST: The Kings and Avalanche come into tonight’s bout with 32 points apiece, but Colorado has two games in-hand on the Kings. Colorado was the hottest team to start the season (12-1-0), then faltered a bit (2-4-0), but have sprung back to life with two consecutive convincing wins. Colorado is a team more fragile than their record depicts. A hot start, mixed with a new hometown head coach can be a dangerous, and disappointing combination in the long run.
GOT TO FINISH: The Kings are 4-0-2 in their previous six games, pocketing an impressive 10 out of 12 points. They scored 12 goals in those six games, averaging in at just two-per-game. They’ve got to find a way to make their shots count. The Kings are 6th in the NHL with 32.2 shots per game, but 18th in the NHL with 2.61 goals per. Not going to cut it. If this club could find one more goal per game, they would wreak havoc.
RECENT TIMES: The Kings played Colorado three times last season, winning both contests played at STAPLES Center, posting six regulation goals on Colorado’s Semyon Varlamav in the two games. Make sure to include the shootout victory. Can the Kings continue to beat Colorado, and score at home like they were able to do against the Avalanche last season?
DUCK TALES: To continue the talk of scoring first against Colorado, there’s a chance the Kings could see a former cross-town rival goalie in the name of Jean-Sebastien Giguere tonight. Giguere’s played a number of games at STAPLES Center in an Anaheim uniform. Giguere hasn’t seen action in Colorado’s last three games, but is 5-0-0 with the Avalanche this season, doing the undefeated thing with a 1.73 GAA and a .947 SV%. The Kings are due for offensive murder. Wear Jeans tonight, maybe the Kings will fit the script.
Bar-None: Without question, tonight’s date with Colorado comes down to the Kings’ ability to score, and how early they can do it. Anze Kopitar has 11 points (5G, 6A) in the Kings previous 10 contests. He struck damage to Colorado last season, can Kopitar and the Kings send Colorado off with “None” in the points column?
Catch KINGS LIVE on FOX SPORTS WEST at 7:00 followed by Bob and Jim on the live call from STAPLES Center for puck-drop against the Colorado Avalanche at 7:30.