Game 16: Kings Win 4-1, improve to 8-6-2
LOS ANGELES – On a day where they honoured former fan favourite Ian Laperierre, the Los Angeles Kings made their former teammate proud, downing the Colorado Avalancheby a score of 4-1 to earn their third-straight win on a day where they were sporting their vintage royal blue uniforms.
Some fans may have been understandably reluctant heading into today’s game given that the Kings have not played particularly during afternoon contests over the last couple seasons but who so what about the past? The Kings were determined to return home with a vengeance and that is just what they did this afternoon.
It had been over a week since fans in Los Angeles saw their team and Dustin Brown made the wait well worth it as he opened the scoring just 58 seconds into the game, capitalizing on a beautiful one-timer to fool Avs’ netminder Semyon Varlamov. The goal was the end result of a great effort by Anze Kopitar to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Quickly, he fed it to Justin Williams who set the captain up for the tally. With the helper, Williams recorded his 100th career assist in a King uniform.
Later in the period, Jeff Carter potted his team-leading ninth goal on the year to put the Kings up by a pair. Like the first goal, Los Angeles’ second was also a one-timer as Carter was set up by none other than Mike Richards which strengthens my argument that the two forwards are indeed rediscovering that brotherly love.
Despite outshooting the home team 9-6 in the opening frame, the Avalanche could not solve the Kings defense or Jonathan Quick who made a few key saves including a beautiful cross-crease stop late in the period. Unfortunately for the Kings, the Avs were able to get on the board early in the second on the power play but from that point forward, it was all Los Angeles.
After Milan Hejduk pulled Colorado to within a goal, the Avs were pressing to tie and had momentum in their favour. Just over a minute later, however, a significant turning point came when the Kings, trying to kill a penalty, made a great stop as Jarret Stoll blocked a point shot where it wound up on the stick of Trevor Lewis who streaked in and put it between the legs of Varlamov to regain the Kings’ two-goal lead and in the process, give them their first shorthanded goal of the season.
With momentum back on their side, Anze Kopitar scored his fifth of the year putting the Kings up by a field goal and that was all the scoring that was needed on this day as the Kings are for the first time two games over .500 at 8-6-2.
Despite being outshot early, the Kings looked as determined as they ever have this young season to make a statement. I was especially pleased to see the regularity of such smooth, precise passing today for a team the critics thought were just lucky last spring. While Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist, nine different Kings found their names on the scoresheet today including Dustin Penner who has mightily struggled thus far.
The Kings and their fans are certainly happy with this victory but not at all satisfied. It’s onward and upward as the Kings prepare to put their three-game winning streak on the line as they hosted the hated Anaheim Ducks on Monday. If this afternoon was any indication, that game should be a great one.