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Kings hope to pick up first victory in clash with Avs

10:59 AM, Jan 22, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings will try to rebound from a lackluster effort in the season opener, as they visit the Colorado Avalanche for Tuesday's battle at the Pepsi Center.

The Kings went 16-4 in last year's playoffs to secure the franchise's first Stanley Cup and the team celebrated that championship in a pre-game ceremony prior to Saturday's home test against Chicago.

However, things went sour shortly after the championship banner was raised as the Blackhawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and cruised to the 5-2 victory. Marian Hossa scored twice and added an assist to lead the Blackhawks to the decisive win.

Jonathan Quick, last year's Conn Smythe winner, was torched for five goals on 22 shots in Saturday's loss.

"The ceremony was great, but for the most part we wanted to play," said Quick, who posted a 1.41 goals against average and .946 save percentage in last year's playoff run. "We were here to win a hockey game, I didn't make saves like I should have and we didn't play like we wanted to."

Rob Scuderi and Jordan Nolan scored for L.A. on Saturday, while defenseman Matt Greene suffered a back injury that could cause him to miss the rest of the shortened season.

Greene's injury puts him on the shelf with fellow Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell, who is out indefinitely following offseason knee surgery.

The Kings are kicking off a three-game road trip Tuesday in Denver and they'll also face Edmonton and Phoenix during the swing.

Like L.A., the Avalanche are 0-1-0 on the young season after dropping a 4-2 decision Saturday in Minnesota. Dany Heatley tallied a pair of power-play goals to help the Wild earn the victory at Xcel Energy Center.

John Mitchell and Cody McLeod each scored for the Avalanche, who missed the postseason for the fourth time in six seasons last year. Semyon Varlamov allowed all four goals on 35 shots for Colorado, which handed Minnesota seven power-play opportunities in the loss.

"We just took too many penalties," Colorado forward David Jones admitted. "Unfortunately they made the most of our mistakes. It's frustrating, especially when you play that well in the first period."

After Tuesday's home opener, the Avalanche will host Columbus on Thursday before ending January on a four-game road trip.

Colorado won all four meetings against the Kings in 2011-12, but L.A. still has eight victories in the last 13 games in this series.

The Sports Network

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