Los Angeles Kings (39-27-6) at Colorado Avalanche (39-25-8)
Thursday, March 22nd at 9:00 EST – FS-W, ALT2
These two western conference foes are battling for their playoff lives. As of March 19th, only two points separate these teams as the Avalanche have 86 and the Kings are right behind at 84. This could be a pivotal game for both teams as they look forward. Taking two points away from a playoff competitor would be a big step for either club.
This should be a good one considering the Kings are 20-13-3 on the road and the Avalanche are 25-9-2 at home. Both of these clubs are comfortable where they are playing as the road obviously suits L.A and home ice has never been more of an advantage of Colorado.
On top of that, the Kings are 6-3-1 in their last ten games which is tightly contested with the Av’s 6-1-3 record through the last ten games. As of late, these two squads have been on fire but just like in all games, one team has to lose.
To avoid losing a key game on the road as the playoff race gets tighter, the Kings’ stars are going to have to show up in force not only for this game but for the remainder of the regular season. Anze Kopitar is going to have to keep putting the puck in the net if the Kings want to remain as successful as they have been.
From a defensive end, Jonathan Quick will have to maintain that “brick wall” status that he has had over the past few months boasting a .922 SV% while closing in on a 30-win season. Quick has always been that rock for L.A and if he can keep that same success going into the end of the season, things should look really good for the Kings.
Regarding their opponent, The Avalanche have been nearly unstoppable at home in the Mile-High City. Their overall record could look very different if their road record wasn’t below .500. Beating the Avalanche at home has been difficult for every team in the league so the Av’s are going to have to treat this like a playoff game. Make it difficult, as they have done all season, for teams to come into their building and grab a win.
Nathan MacKinnon is in serious contention for the Hart and now is the time for a final push. I think I and many others are looking for him to possibly reach 100 points this season. With that milestone in sight, this could be even more motivation to take the game into his own hands. If he can control the game, I don’t see a lot of opportunity for L.A.
Prediction time! Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog play keep away every time they are on the ice and leave the game with a couple points in their pocket. However, L.A isn’t going to let two players dampen their chances at a playoff spot. Kings play a team game and come out with the win 4-2 and pull closer to the postseason.