Kings host Avs, try to avoid third straight loss

The Los Angeles Kings will try to avoid losing three in a row for the first time since the opening week of the season when they host the lowly Colorado Avalanche in Thursday's battle at Staples Center.

The defending Stanley Cup champions began 2013 with an 0-2-1 record from Jan. 19-24, but the Kings have never lost more than two in a row since. Los Angeles' current two-game slide began with a 4-3 shootout loss to Anaheim on Sunday before the Kings were slammed 5-1 by the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

While those two recent losses came on the road, the Kings hope to get back on track in the City of Angels. L.A. is 14-4-1 as the host this season compared to an 8-10-3 mark on the road. Colorado, meanwhile, is just 3-15-3 as the guest this season, but the Avalanche were able to halt a 14-game road skid in Wednesday's win over the Anaheim Ducks.

Despite losing its last two, the Kings are still sitting fourth in the Western Conference, but the St. Louis Blues, who play in Minnesota on Thursday, are just one point behind.

The Stars used a big third period to take down the Kings on Tuesday. Ray Whitney scored two of Dallas' four unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes to help Dallas skate away with two points.

Drew Doughty had the lone goal of the game for the Kings, while Jonathan Quick allowed all five goals on 31 shots in the loss.

"We turned the puck over pretty regularly tonight," said Kings coach Darryl Sutter. "Eventually they got us."

The Kings are playing two straight and four of their next five games on home ice.

The Avalanche responded to goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere calling out his teammates with a 4-1 victory in Anaheim on Wednesday. Giguere, who called his team "embarrassing" after losing a fifth straight game Monday against Calgary, made 21 saves in the win over the Ducks.

Colorado answered the veteran goaltender's words with a complete effort against the Pacific Division leaders and notched its first win away from home since Feb. 14.

"Giguere played well tonight. I thought our whole team played well. I thought the guys did a really good job in front of him," Colorado head coach Joe Sacco said.

Matt Duchene, who praised Giguere for his harsh critique, posted a goal and an assist in Wednesday's win. John Mitchell, Jamie McGinn and team captain Gabriel Landeskog also scored for the Avs.

Despite the win, Colorado remains last in the Western Conference with 31 points and is on its way to a third straight season out of the playoffs.

Thursday's contest is the third and final meeting this season between the Kings and Avs. The clubs have split two encounters in 2013, with each team winning on home ice.

Colorado had won five straight versus the Kings before L.A. notched a 4-1 win at the Staples Center on Feb. 23. The Avalanche have lost five of their last seven tilts on the road in this series.