Kings vs. Avalanche Preview
COLORADO (AP) - The Colorado Avalanche winning six straight games is impressive enough. The fact that they've scored 27 goals during that run while missing two of their top five scorers makes it all the more eye-opening.
The Avs seek their first seven-game win streak in nearly five years when they continue a five-game homestand against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com have made the Avalanche -120 money line favorites for Tuesday's game against the Kings. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 61% of more than 252 bets for this game have been placed on the Kings +111.
Colorado (19-10-4) made huge strides last season after missing the playoffs in 2008-09, and the team appears to be capable of even more in 2010-11.
An 0-2-2 skid earlier this month tempered some enthusiasm for one of the league's youngest clubs, but the Avalanche have overcome several key injuries to post their longest winning streak of the season. They have averaged 4.5 goals during the stretch, which includes wins over heavyweights Washington and Montreal and two victories over defending champion Chicago.
T.J. Galiardi broke a second-period tie and Craig Anderson made 27 saves Sunday, lifting Colorado to a 3-2 victory over the Canadiens. Galiardi has scored in both of his games since missing more than a month with a fractured right wrist.
"We found a way,'' Anderson said. ``It doesn't matter if it's 3-2 or 6-5, we're finding ways to win.''
Second-leading scorer Paul Stastny was back in the Avalanche lineup after sitting out one game with an upper back injury, but had his six-game point streak snapped.
Still out of the lineup are forwards Milan Hejduk and Chris Stewart, the team's third- and fifth-leading scorers, respectively. Hejduk has missed five straight games with a groin injury and Stewart has been out nearly a month with a broken hand.
Despite those key absences, Colorado is on the verge of its first seven-game run since winning eight straight Dec. 31-Jan. 17, 2006. The Avalanche have gone 7-0-1 in their last eight home games.
"We've got a good thing going,'' coach Joe Sacco said. ``The one thing we've got to guard against is not getting too high. We should be proud of the fact we've won six in a row, but we've got to keep on an even keel. I like the direction the team is going and the way we played tonight.''
Though he was held without a point Sunday, second-year center Matt Duchene has been the offensive catalyst for Sacco's club. He has 11 goals and nine assists in his last 15 games, and leads the team with 34 points.
Duchene, however, hasn't been able to help his team achieve much success against the Kings lately. Los Angeles has gone 5-0-1 in the last six meetings, winning 6-4 at the Pepsi Center on Oct. 23.
This will be the final stop on a five-game trip for the Kings (18-12-1), who dropped to 2-2-0 on the trek with a 3-2 loss to the Blackhawks on Sunday. Kyle Clifford and Wayne Simmonds had goals but Los Angeles lost in regulation for only the second time in eight contests.
"I thought we played a pretty good game, but a pretty good game against these guys is not good enough,'' forward Anze Kopitar said.
This game could see the season debut of new Kings forward Marco Sturm, acquired from Boston on Dec. 11 for future considerations. Sturm had 22 goals last season for the Bruins.Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick is likely to make his second straight start. He hasn't been particularly sharp against the Avalanche despite a 4-0 record in five games, posting a 3.44 goals-against average in that span.
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