The Los Angeles Kings are coming off a game in which they gained ground on the Pacific Division leader but feel they should have made up more. They could make up for it with upcoming games against the league's two worst teams.
Los Angeles opens that two-game stretch Saturday at Staples Center, looking to run its point streak versus the Colorado Avalanche to nine.
After avoiding a third straight loss Monday with a 2-1 shootout win over Calgary, the Kings improved to 9-0-2 in tiebreakers with Thursday's 4-3 victory over Pacific-leading San Jose. Captain Dustin Brown scored twice on the power play and had the deciding goal in the shootout as Los Angeles (42-26-6) played its first game without second-leading scorer Justin Williams, who will miss at least three weeks with a dislocated shoulder.
Though the Kings picked up a point on the Sharks and remained three back of fourth-place Phoenix in the Western Conference, they gave up a pair of one-goal leads in the final 3:32 of regulation. San Jose scored with 4.1 seconds left to earn a point.
"Obviously we're trying to make a push, and that's a team that we want to jump in the standings and try to win the Pacific Division here," Jonathan Quick told the Kings' official website after making 25 saves. "They sneak a point out of it, and I think we outplayed them for a majority of the game and we played a solid game as a team. At the end of the day, we got two points and you can't complain about that."
Quick's club also can't complain about its upcoming schedule. After hosting a Colorado team which has the second-fewest points in the NHL, Los Angeles visits league-worst Edmonton on Tuesday.
The Kings have won all three matchups with the Avalanche (28-37-8) this season and are looking to sweep the season series for the first time. Los Angeles has beaten Colorado four straight times and is 7-0-1 in the last eight meetings, most recently a 4-3 home victory Feb. 26.
The Avalanche had won two straight for the first time in two months before losing 4-3 to Toronto on Thursday.
Defenseman Ryan Wilson (knee) and rookie center Mark Olver (head) had to leave the game and could miss this matchup.
"Losing him doesn't help because he's been playing very well and he gives us a lot of energy," Sacco said of Olver, who has a goal and three assists in six games since being called up from the AHL earlier this month.
The Avs need all the energy they can muster against Quick, who has a 2.09 goals-against average this month and is 6-0-0 lifetime against Colorado.
Avs goaltender Peter Budaj, who has lost his last four starts, has not faced the Kings this season but is 6-0-1 with a 2.70 GAA in nine starts against them.
Brian Elliott started last month versus Los Angeles, his second game after being acquired from Ottawa, and made 38 saves but fell to 0-3-0 against the Kings.
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