The Colorado Avalanche have been among the biggest surprises of the league and look to keep it going when they kick off a post-Olympic three-game homestand against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday. The Avalanche finished dead last in the now-defunct Northwest Division last season but are just five points back of Central Division co-leaders St. Louis and Chicago. Colorado split two meetings in Los Angeles this season, winning 1-0 in overtime and falling to the Kings 3-2 in a shootout.Colorado's Matt Duchene will square off against defenseman Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter of the Kings, who were teammates on Canada's gold medal-winning squad in Sochi, Russia. The Olympics came at an opportune time for Los Angeles, which had dropped four straight and nine of 10 before posting a 2-1 victory over Columbus in the final game before the break. "It's playoff-type hockey now," forward Justin Williams told the Los Angeles Times. "We've dug ourselves a little bit of a hole and, fortunately for us, we're still in a playoff spot."TV: 10 p.m. ET, NBC SportsABOUT THE KINGS (31-22-6): Goaltender Jonathan Quick played superbly for Team USA at the Olympics, reversing a trend that had seen him lose four consecutive starts before beating the Blue Jackets. Los Angeles' punchless offense has not provided Quick with much support, scoring two or fewer goals in 11 of his last 13 starts. Anze Kopitar, who played for Slovenia at the Olympics, has four goals and three assists over the past eight games, but leading goal scorer Carter has collected only four assists in that span and remains stuck on 20 tallies.ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (37-16-5): Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog was on a tear before joining Team Sweden at the Olympics, amassing four goals and eight assists during a nine-game point streak - the second-longest active run in the league. Rookie Nathan MacKinnon, the top overall pick, has been equally hot and is riding an eight-game point streak, during which he has scored five goals to go with six assists. The Avalanche will be without defenseman Erik Johnson, who will serve the first of a two-game suspension for slashing Frans Nielson of the New York Islanders.OVERTIME1. Avalanche G Semyon Varlamov is 5-2-1 with a 1.83 goals-against average against Los Angeles.2. Los Angeles' Doughty was named the top defenseman at the Olympics.3. Former Avalanche F Milan Hejduk, who played his 14th and final campaign with Colorado last season, announced his retirement on Monday.PREDICTION: Avalanche 2, Kings 1