Kings-Avalanche Preview

Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter got the best of Los Angeles Kings teammates Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick when Canada beat the United States in the semifinals of the Olympic tournament. Despite the different emotions from all of the team's Olympians in Sochi, they'll need to come together to help Los Angeles get back on track, beginning with Wednesday night's road matchup with the Colorado Avalanche. Doughty, named the best defenseman of the tournament, and Carter helped Canada capture its second straight gold medal while Brown, Quick and Kings teammates Anze Kopitar of Slovenia and Slava Voynov of Russia came home without any hardware. Though the Canadians may hold bragging rights in the locker room, all have responsibility for the Kings (31-22-6) dropping nine of 11 before the break. Los Angeles was outscored 30-15 in non-shootout goals during that stretch while Quick went 2-7-1 with a 2.46 goals-against average. The Kings headed into the league's hiatus on a high note, though, as Quick made 24 saves and Robyn Regehr scored in overtime of a 2-1 win over Columbus on Feb. 6. "We've been on a terrible run here in the last month, so we're really happy to get this win," Regehr said. "It was a very important game for us. Now we can enjoy the break, then come back and get to work." Not every Los Angeles player got to rest during the break, but each Olympian will have at least two days off prior to this contest. "This team has been struggling and we're trying to find a way to break through," said Brown, the Kings' captain. "... We have a good team here. It's just a matter of fighting our way through it." Kopitar played a role in seven of Los Angeles' final eight goals before the break, scoring four and assisting on three. He was the only one to score in the shootout as the Kings beat the Avalanche 3-2 on Dec. 21, though Jamie McGinn scored in overtime to give Colorado a 1-0 victory Nov. 23 in the first meeting. The Avalanche (37-16-5) completed a 2-2 road trip before the break with a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Feb. 8. Matt Duchene scored his 100th NHL goal before adding another less than three minutes later in the second period. Rookie Nathan MacKinnon also scored, while captain Gabriel Landeskog had a goal and an assist to give him four goals and eight assists during a nine-game point streak. Duchene broke through after scoring once in his previous 23 games. "People made a big story of that, but not me," coach Patrick Roy said. "He had chances every night. It was just a matter of time. He was resilient." Duchene joined Doughty and Carter on the Canadian team that won gold with Sunday's 3-0 victory over Sweden, which featured Landeskog and took silver. "I'm very proud of our players," Roy said. Semyon Varlamov, who went 1-1-1 with a 1.98 GAA for Russia in Sochi, is 5-2-1 with a 1.83 GAA in eight career starts against Los Angeles. Colorado will be without defenseman Erik Johnson, suspended two games for a slash on Frans Nielsen in the final contest before the break.