NHL Hockey Betting: Colorado Avalanche at Los Angeles Kings&h=253&w=372&zc=1

The Colorado Avalanche are having an awful season and it’s not going to get better anytime soon as they start their post All Star Break schedule with tough road games at Anaheim last night and the Los Angeles Kings tonight. Tuesday’s outcome was pending at the time of this writing but unless the Avs completely catch the Ducks napping there’s a strong probability that they’ll be coming into this game off a loss. The Avs are just horrible. They are *deep* in the NHL basement at 13-31-2 for 28 points. That’s 10 points behind the Arizona Coyotes who are the second worst team in the league and 21 points behind the two worst teams in the East. Colorado ended the pre-All Star break portion of the schedule losing 7 straight and 9 of 10 (1-8-1). They’re 5-18-1 at home and 8-13-1 on the road. They’re not much to look at statistically either. For starters, they’re the worst 5 on 5 team in the league ranking dead last in goals scored per game (2.0) and goals against per game (3.4). Things are only marginally better on special teams where the Avs are #27 on the power play (14.4%) and #25 on the penalty kill (78.6%).

The Kings have been scrapping all year to get into the competitive mix in the Pacific Division despite the absence of starting goalie Jonathan Quick. Peter Budaj has done a decent job in his stead (2.06 goals against average) but it looks like his backup Jeff Zatkoff (you’ll remember him from a stint with Pittsburgh last year) will go here. Zatkoff is likely better suited as a backup and he needs to be a on a team that scores goals (eg: the Penguins). He’s not a bad goalie but not a guy who can win games on his own. This season he’s got a 2-7-1 record with a 2.94 goals against average and a 0.881 save percentage. Between him and Budaj the Kings are #5 in scoring defense (2.4 goals per game) but struggle to put the puck in the net. LA is #22 in goals scored per game (2.5) and #21 on the power play (17%).

With the Avs likely to start 21 year old Spencer Martin (recalled from AHL San Antonio on Monday) it’s hard to give Colorado much of a chance.