The Los Angeles Kings took the ice in Denver with a key defensemen, and assistant captain, making his season debut in Matt Greene. Greene had been recovering since undergoing shoulder surgery in July.
The first period began with a goal from Alexei Ponikarovsky, his first as a King, just 1:12 in. After the early goal, the momentum shifted and Colorado took pace for the majority of the first frame. The Avalanche would score two of their own by Milan Hejduk and Paul Stastny. Anze Kopitar would also a net a first period power play goal to head into the first intermission knotted up at two.
Brad Richardson and Dustin Brown each scored in the second period for the Kings and Stastny would chalked up his second goal of the night for Colorado. Milan Hejduk would tie things up with a power play goal 11:34 into the third period but Richardson would net his second of the night on a short handed goal just minutes later. Richardson would later close the door on the Avalanche, and record his first career hat trick with 2:55 remaining.
When asked if having a hat trick against a team that traded him away, Richardson had this to so, “That was the first time I got traded, but yeah, it does feel good to get it against your former team, for sure. There are obviously no hard feelings. It was great to play here and I loved being here, but it’s a little sweeter I guess…”
The Kings special teams also played a key roll in the game. Entering the game, the Kings power play unit had only converted in 1 of 21 opportunities this season and were a minus 1 of the ice. Meanwhile, the penalty kill was outstanding, allowing only two goals all season. Against the Avalanche the Kings were 2 of 5 on the power play, 11% on the season, and 5 of 7 on the penalty kill, 88%.
Three Stars of the Game:
1st: Brad Richardson
2nd: Paul Stastny
3rd: Milan Hejduk