Kings brace for high-scoring Avalanche
The Los Angeles Kings hope their upcoming homestand will start better than the last one ended.
The Kings host the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night after going 2-0-1 on a three-game road trip.
Los Angeles (7-12-1) lost the final three contests of a seven-game homestand that concluded with a 5-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 13.
That loss came the day after the Kings learned goaltender Jack Campbell would undergo surgery on his knee to repair a torn meniscus. Campbell had taken over as the starter after Jonathan Quick had a similar surgery Oct. 31.
Cal Petersen was recalled Nov. 12 and made his first NHL start at the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, earning his first win in the 2-1 shootout victory. Petersen started the following night in a 5-3 loss at the Nashville Predators, and returned to the goal crease for the third time in four days and produced 29 saves in a 2-0 victory at the St. Louis Blues on Monday.
“It’s been a fair bit of a whirlwind considering it was three in four,” Petersen told LA Kings Insider after the shutout. “But whenever I get a quiet moment, or whenever I get to talk with my parents or be with my parents, it’s been kind of taking the time to soak everything in and appreciate the opportunity.”
Petersen will be up against the third-highest scoring team in the NHL on Wednesday.
Colorado (10-6-4) averages 3.55 goals and features the top two point scorers in the NHL entering Tuesday.
Mikko Rantanen scored the game-winning goal with 1.3 seconds left in overtime of a 4-3 victory at the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. He has eight points (three goals, five assists) in the past four games, and 32 points (eight goals, 24 assists) on the season.
Nathan MacKinnon also had three points against Anaheim, giving him 11 points (five goals, six assists) in the past seven games, and 29 points (13 goals, 16 assists) on the season.
“Highly competitive, that’s what it is. He’s a highly competitive individual player,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said of MacKinnon. “He wants to be on the ice all the time.”
The win against Anaheim was also the third time in six games the Avalanche prevailed after trailing entering the third period, the best winning percentage in the NHL in that situation.
Colorado forward Carl Soderberg said that speaks to the growing maturity of the Avalanche.
“We know we can do it,” Soderberg said of the late comebacks. “We have done it.”
Petersen isn’t the only rookie doing good things for the Kings lately. Matt Luff scored his first NHL goal against St. Louis, which came five days after he was recalled from the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League for the second time this month.
“When I sent (Luff) down last time, I talked to him about working harder, and he came back and he’s worked harder,” Kings coach Willie Desjardins said.