Kings-Avalanche Preview

The Los Angeles Kings are still trying to figure out where they

finish in the Western Conference while the Colorado Avalanche know

they will be the No. 8 seed.

The playoff-bound teams meet for the final time in the regular

season Sunday at the Pepsi Center with Los Angeles trying to reach

100 points for the first time since 1991-92.

The Kings (45-27-9) fell 4-3 to Edmonton in a shootout at home

Saturday, leaving them with 99 points as they vie with Nashville

and Detroit for spots five through seven in the West. Los Angeles

is headed to the postseason for the first time since 2002.

Los Angeles rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the third period

Saturday to gain a point, but failed to fully capitalize on a 55-16

edge in shots on goal. The Kings have been in a franchise-record

four straight shootouts, losing three.

Jonathan Quick is 0-3-3 with a 3.20 GAA while being yanked twice

in eight starts since last winning on March 22.

“It doesn’t bother me,” he said. “There’s no reason it should.

As a team, and me personally, we’ve won plenty of games to be

confident that we’re going to win more, so it doesn’t affect me at

all.”

Colorado (43-30-8), meanwhile, is locked into the final playoff

spot in the West. The Avalanche have been one of the biggest

stories in the NHL this season after finishing with a

conference-low 69 points in 2008-09.

The Avalanche also are looking ahead to the postseason, starting

backup goalie Peter Budaj over Craig Anderson in losses over the

last two games after clinching a berth with Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout

victory at Vancouver.

Budaj will likely get the call again Sunday. He’s 5-5-2 with a

2.64 goals-against average this year, and 6-0-1 with a 2.70 GAA in

nine career starts against the Kings.

Colorado’s cautious approach will also determine whether rookie

Matt Duchene will see action. Duchene is listed as doubtful with a

torso injury suffered in a center-ice collision against Edmonton in

Wednesday’s 5-4 overtime loss.

Duchene played in the first period of Friday’s 5-2 loss to

Chicago, but left when the injury flared up again. A likely Calder

Trophy finalist, Duchene was taken to the hospital as a precaution

and discharged Saturday morning.

The 19-year-old was the third pick in the 2009 draft and leads

all NHL rookies in goals (24) and points (55).

“He’s got some time to rest up and get better,” coach Joe Sacco

told the Avalanche’s official Web site. “If we’re playing Wednesday

or Thursday, hopefully he’ll be ready to go by then.”

Colorado has a shootout win, an overtime loss and a regulation

loss in its first three meetings with Los Angeles this season. The

Avalanche can’t wait, though, for the postseason.

“More than anything, I’m excited to be playing in the playoffs

again,” forward Darcy Tucker said. “Our goal all year long as a

team was to get into the playoffs and make sure we’re playing well

going into the playoffs.”