Pregame reading: Los Angeles Kings at Colorado Avalanche


Faceoff: 6 p.m. TV/Radio: NBCSN, 790-AM

The Kings (31-21-13) left for a two-game trip mired in ninth place in the Western Conference standings, two points out of the eighth and final playoff spot. It’s difficult to imagine the reigning Stanley Cup champions missing the playoffs, but time is short and the teams ahead of them are playing well. (Vancouver defeated the Ducks on Monday, for instance). The Kings must improve their play away from Staples Center if they are to move up. They are 10-14-6 on the road, and play all but six of their final 17 games away from home. They have 10 games left against teams in playoff spots. The Kings also must find a way to score more goals. They have been blanked 1-0 twice in their last six games and their 175 total goals ranks as the fewest of any of the playoff contenders in the West. Colorado is 30-25-11.

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