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Colorado
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43-30-9
Los Angeles
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42-35-5

20 SOG
21 SOG
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Avalanche-Kings Preview

Monday, 03.20.2006 / 5:30 PM

Associated Press

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Avalanche-Kings Preview
Colorado Avalanche vs. Los Angeles Kings

GAME: Colorado Avalanche (37-25-6) at Los Angeles Kings (37-27-5).

TIME: Monday, 10:30 p.m. EST.

The Los Angeles Kings look to move past two teams in the Western Conference playoff race when they welcome the injury-riddled Colorado Avalanche at Staples Center.

Los Angeles has won all three meetings versus Colorado this season, and is 7-2-0 with two ties in its last 11 home games in the series.

Tied with Edmonton for sixth with 79 points, the Kings can move past the Oilers and Avalanche and gain sole possession of the fifth seed with a win. Colorado, which trails first-place Calgary by just four points in the Northwest Division, has 80 points and one game in hand over Los Angeles.

The Avs, already without leading goal-scorer Marek Svatos for the season with a shoulder injury, may be without leading scorer Alex Tanguay. He suffered a knee injury in the first period of Sunday's 6-5 loss to San Jose and did not return.

The Kings entered their pivotal five-game homestand with wins in six of their last eight games, but are just 1-2-0 since.

That victory came Saturday against St. Louis as Sean Avery, Michael Cammalleri and Eric Belanger scored third-period goals and Mathieu Garon made 23 saves in a 3-1 win.

Garon faced just three shots in the final period to cap off a relatively quiet night compared to his three previous outings - all losses - in which he allowed 14 goals.

"I think we played nervous at the beginning and we were tense," said Kings center Craig Conroy, who returned to the lineup after missing two games with an eye injury. "We know they're a team that's struggling, but that's a dangerous kind of team."

Conroy has 12 goals and 16 assists in 35 games versus Colorado in his career, including two goals and seven assists in the last four meetings.

The Avalanche have lost the first two games of a five-game road trip that concludes Saturday in St. Louis, which will end a stretch of nine of 10 contests on the road.

Once Colorado returns to Pepsi Center, it will play seven of its final 11 games there.

On Sunday, Colorado defenseman John-Michael Liles scored the equalizer midway through the third to make it 5-5, but Peter Budaj gave up Alyn McCauley's tally with 4:13 left.

Ian Laperriere scored twice in the second period, giving him a career-high 18 goals. Laperriere, who spent eight-plus seasons with the Kings before the Avalanche signed him as a free agent in July 2004, has two goals in seven career games against his former team.

STANDINGS: Avalanche - 80 points, 2nd place, 4 PB, Northwest Division. Kings - 79 points, 2nd place, 14 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Avalanche - Svatos, 32 goals; Tanguay, 48 assists and 74 points; Laperriere, 103 PIM. Kings - Cammalleri, 24 goals; Lubomir Visnovsky, 44 assists and 61 points; Sean Avery, 229 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Avalanche - Power play: 19.4 percent (79 for 407), 5th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.2 percent (309 for 367), 9th. Kings - Power play: 14.8 percent (68 for 458), 26th. Penalty killing: 78.6 percent (330 for 420), 28th.

GOALTENDERS: Avalanche - Budaj (9-8-4, 1 SO, 2.76 GAA); Vitaly Kolesnik (3-3-0, 3.29). Kings - Garon (28-19-3, 2, 3.08); Jason LaBarbera (9-8-2, 3.25).

SEASON SERIES: Kings, 3-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 28; Kings, 5-3. At Denver, Pavol Demitra had two goals and an assist and Garon stopped 32 shots in Los Angeles' sixth win in seven games. Milan Hejduk scored twice for Colorado.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Avalanche - 16-17-1 on the road; Kings - 22-11-1 at home.

2005-2006 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 20 '06COL 5 at LAK 0J. Sakic
Dec 28 '05LAK 5 at COL 3P. Demitra
Nov 19 '05COL 3 at LAK 4P. Demitra
Oct 19 '05LAK 5 at COL 4C. Conroy
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