Colorado Avalanche (36-30-12) at Los Angeles Kings (38-25-14), 10 p.m. (ET)
(SportsNetwork.com) – The Los Angeles Kings will try to build off a lopsided victory when they host the Colorado Avalanche in Saturday’s important contest at the Staples Center.
The Kings won their second Stanley Cup in three seasons last spring, but are still fighting for a playoff spot in 2014-15.
Los Angeles currently holds the last wild card berth in the Western Conference with 90 points, tying it with the Winnipeg Jets for that distinction. Both teams have five games left, but L.A. holds the tiebreaker due to having four more regulation/overtime wins (ROW) than the Jets. San Jose also sits three points behind both teams, but the Jets and Kings hold a game in hand over the Sharks, who visit Arizona on Saturday.
L.A. also still has a chance at landing the third and final playoff bid from the Pacific Division. Calgary enters today’s action a point ahead of the Kings, but the Flames only have four tilts left in the regular season. However, one of those four games is Thursday’s home test against the Kings.
Calgary is visiting Edmonton tonight, while the Jets are hosting Vancouver in the afternoon.
After ending March with two straight regulation losses in which they were outscored by a combined 8-2 margin, the Kings posted an 8-2 victory in Thursday’s home rout of Edmonton.
Marian Gaborik tallied two goals and an assist to help the Kings bury the lowly Oilers. L.A. led by as many as seven goals (8-1) in the blowout.
“We started off very well. The first period was key,” Gaborik said. “There is always confidence in our room.”
Jeff Carter scored twice, Drew Doughty had a goal and an assist and Dustin Brown, Robyn Regehr and Jordan Nolan each lit the lamp for the Kings.
Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams each supplied two assists, while Jonathan Quick made 28 saves for the victory.
L.A. improved to 23-9-7 as the host and hopes to pick up another win before heading out on a three-game road trip. The Kings will visit Vancouver and Edmonton on the swing before facing the Flames in the key Pacific battle.
The Kings’ final test of the regular season is next Saturday’s home clash against San Jose.
The Avalanche are just about done in the playoff race, as they sit six games out of the last wild card spot with only four games to play.
Colorado is coming off Friday’s 4-2 win at Anaheim and would love to add another victory tonight against the Ducks’ neighbors from Southern California.
However, Los Angeles has won four straight against the Avalanche and has gained at least a point in seven straight (6-0-1) in this series. The Kings are 3-0-1 in the past four encounters in the City of Angels.
Matt Duchene scored the game-winning goal midway through the third period on Friday to help lift the Avs past the Pacific Division champion Ducks. Dennis Everberg and Duchene each tallied a goal and an assist, while Gabriel Landeskog and John Mitchell also scored for the Avalanche.
“If we win out you never know what could happen,” said Duchene. “We’re going to give ourselves the best opportunity possible. Even if we don’t make it, we have a lot of pride and a lot of character.”
Reto Berra made 35 saves in a solid performance in between the pipes.
Semyon Varlamov will start tonight for the Avs and is 5-3-1 with a 1.96 goals against average in nine career games versus the Kings. Quick is 11-4-1 with a 2.41 GAA in 17 lifetime outings against Colorado.
Colorado is capping its road schedule tonight with the finale of a three-game trip. The Avs begin a regular-season ending homestand Tuesday against Nashville before welcoming Winnipeg and Chicago.