Dustin Brown is slated to play in his 1,000th career contest on Thursday as the Los Angeles Kings return from a four-game road trip to host the Colorado Avalanche. Brown will become the third member of the Kings (Luc Robitaille, Dave Taylor) as the only players to skate in 1,000 or more games for the franchise.
Brown notched an assist for the second straight contest on Monday as Los Angeles snapped a three-game skid with a 4-1 triumph over Philadelphia. The 33-year-old has embraced coach John Stevens’ regime, recording 12 goals, 16 assists and a plus-14 rating in 35 games this season after scoring just 14 goals and setting up 22 others in 80 contests last season. While Los Angeles is jockeying with expansion Vegas atop the Pacific Division, Colorado is bidding to climb out of the cellar in the Central with wins in four of its last six games. “We were a dangerous team and playing on our toes (Monday),” coach Jared Bednar said after the Avalanche posted a 4-2 win over Pittsburgh. “I think it shows that we are gradually becoming more consistent at what we are supposed to do.”
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, Altitude (Colorado), FSN West (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (16-15-2): Defenseman Tyson Barrie upped his game in the absence of suspended Erik Johnson and scored two goals for the fifth time in his career in Monday’s win. “Obviously, you can’t replace E.J. and it will be nice to get him back,” said Barrie, who has two goals and four assists during his three-game point streak. “Everybody just has to step up, do the best they can and collectively we can try to pick up the slack.” Johnson will sit out the second contest of his two-game suspension for his hit on Tampa Bay’s Vladislav Namestnikov.
ABOUT THE KINGS (21-10-4): Tyler Toffoli scored in back-to-back games to reach 100 goals and 200 points in his career, with six goals and three assists coming in his last 10 contests. The 25-year-old’s 16 goals this season are one shy of team leader Anze Kopitar, who has just one point in his last four games after erupting for 13 (six goals, seven assists) in his previous seven. Jonathan Quick doesn’t need much offense to propel the Kings, and the former Conn Smythe Trophy winner owns an sterling 13-5-1 career mark with two shutouts against the Avalanche.
1. Los Angeles will celebrate RW Marian Gaborik’s milestone of 1,000 career games played prior to Thursday’s tilt.
2. Colorado has killed off 16 straight penalties, its longest stretch since a run of 25 from Feb. 24-March 12, 2016.
3. The Kings recalled Kevin Gravel from Ontario of the American Hockey League after placing fellow D Christian Folin (upper body) on injured reserve.
PREDICTION: Kings 3, Avalanche 1