PREVIEW: Los Angeles Kings vs. Colorado Avalanche
Games against the Colorado Avalanche are always a terrible mess. This will be no different.
Los Angeles Kings vs. Colorado Avalanche
Time: 7:30 Pacific
Enemy Reading: Mile High Hockey
Los Angeles Kings
Lucic - Kopitar - Toffoli
Gaborik - Carter - Brown
King - Lecavalier - Lewis
Andreoff - Shore - Pearson
(4th line is subject to change)
McNabb - Doughty
Muzzin - Martinez
Ehrhoff - Schenn
Alex Tanguay - Nathan MacKinnon - Matt Duchene
Gabriel Landeskog - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau
Andreas Martinsen - Mikhail Grigorenko - Jarome Iginla
Cody McLeod - John Mitchell - Jack Skille
Francois Beauchemin - Erik Johnson
Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie
Chris Bigras - Zach Redmond
- The first thing worth noting is that the Avalanche goaltending situation is in flux. There is a chance that Semyon Varlamov returns to the lineup to suit up against the Kings tonight, however the situation is unclear. A glance at NHL.com's game preview notes that he has "legal issues" but does not expand on that thought. His ex-girlfriend has brought about a civil suit against Varlamov for the time he assaulted her. That trial began on Monday. Seems worth noting, in my opinion.
- Their current coach, Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy, suited up in his old pads at yesterday's morning skate. There was even some speculation that the Avs might use him as an emergency goaltender! Comedy.
- Several players from the Avalanche have been battling illness. Those players include projected starter Calvin Pickard, golf cart enthusiast Erik Johnson, and Ryan O'Reilly replacement Mikhail Grigorenko. Watching the Avs play also makes me want to throw up once in awhile, so I feel them on this one.
- Somehow, the Avalanche find themselves in a playoff spot despite being pretty terrible. Their Corsi has been awful in the Patrick Roy era, but one has to wonder if maybe their shot quality was better than expected, or something. It's not! The Avs have been terrible even by Expected Goals, which attempts to account for the quality of shots taken and conceded.
- There is a fairly decent chance that the Kings wind up in a first round matchup with the Avs. This would be unfortunate. There are five teams in the league that I cannot stand to watch from an aesthetics standpoint. The Avs, Wild, Coyotes, Predators and Ducks are those teams. The Kings will likely face one of these teams in the first round of the playoffs. Gross.
- Milan Lucic returns from his one game suspension for sucker punching an Arizona Coyote.
- Jonathan Quick is likely to make his return to the ice as well. He was rested in San Jose, giving Jhonas Enroth a rare chance to actually play some hockey. Very kind of him.
- This is the last game before the All-Star break! Congrats to all of us. We made it through another half-season of regular season Kings hockey and it seems more likely than ever that the Kings will actually make the playoffs this season. Good job, everyone!