Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2011-12 season:

 

Game 40 vs. Colorado

 

January 2, 2012

 

7:30pm PST (10:30pm EST)

 

 

The Los Angeles Kings kick off 2012 on a bit of a hot streak, having gone 5-0-2 in their last seven outings. They will, however, be hosting the equally-hot Colorado Avalanche who, in addition to winning their last two games, are 8-2-0 in their last ten. Both teams played in Denver back on October 30 when the Avs won 3-2. The Kings hope to even up the season series tonight.

 

Despite falling short in their last meeting, the Kings are 8-1-1 in their last ten against Colorado and a big reason for that has been the play of Anze Kopitar, who has recorded five goals and nine assists during that span. Although Kopitar has struggled offensively in recent weeks, he snapped his 17-game goalless drought on New Year’s Eve as his highlight reel goal have the Kings some crucial insurance against hated Vancouver. Hopefully a meeting with the Avs will serve as a remedy to keep scoring.

 

Although the Kings are ranked 30th in the league in goals for with an average of 2.13 per game, they sit 5th overall in goals against with 2.23, which is not only thanks to the superb goaltending of Jonathan Quick and even Jonathan Bernier but a sound defensive system that has been at the top of their game in recent weeks.

 

The Avs rank 20th in goal against and 22nd in goals for. In fact, the latter stat may affect Colorado and even benefit the Kings personally as they will be without the services of their lead goal-scorer Matt Duchene, who scored the winning goal the last time his team played the Kings.

 

Although the Winter Classic between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers is the big matchup today in the NHL, it shouldn’t take anything away from the Kings and Avs: two surging teams looking to keep their respective hot streaks going.

 

The action starts at 7:30pm EST (10:30pm PST). Enjoy the game!

 

 

 

Photo: Courtesy of Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

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