Apr 11, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Jeff Carter (77) celebrates with center Mike Richards (10) and defenseman Drew Doughty (8) after scoring a goal in the first period as Colorado Avalanche goalie Sami Aikttokallio (30) reacts at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kings Go the Distance on Their Rocky Mountain High Downing the Lowly Avs

Game 41: Kings Win 3-2(SO), improve to 23-14-4

LOS ANGELES – It was a night of firsts for the Colorado Avalanche. Too bad for them the Los Angeles just didn’t care. Having lost their two outings to divisional opponents, the Kingsreturned home looking to right the ship and while they had to go the distance with the league’s worst team, they got the two points in a 3-2 shootout victory.

Apr 11, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards (10) celebrates after scoring a goal in the first period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In the Colorado net, Sami Aittokallio was making his NHL debut against (without trying to bias) arguably the best goaltender in the game today, Jonathan Quick. Nevertheless, as they sit in the league’s basement, the Avs feel like they had nothing to lose as they are just playing out the string in hopes of landing the first-overall pick in the upcoming draft. But if the Avs were determined not to tank, the Kings wanted to help them do just that.

Returning home, the Kings had something to prove and they wasted little time getting started. 5:27 into the opening period, Jeff Carter opened the scoring on the power play with his team-leading 24th goal. That was followed by Mike Richards less than two minutes later adding to his assist on Carter’s tally. Just like that, the Kings were up by a pair.

Colorado, though, hung around and Paul Stastny pulled them to within a goal in the second. Early in the third, Patrick Bordeleau stepped up and notched his first-career NHL goal to tie the game for Colorado. But that was the end of the scoring in regulation after nothing happened in overtime, the game went to a shootout.

If Kings fans were skeptical of the shootout, they had every reason to be. Despite winning earlier this season against Vancouver in the extra frame, the Kings haven’t only lost three straight but they were dismal in their last two outings allowing all three goals they faced in each contest. But after Sami Aittokallio was forced to leave the game with an injury, veteran Jean-Sebastien Giguere had to come on in relief and considering he had just played the previous night, the Kings were hoping fatigue would set in on the senior statesman of the Colorado net.

In the shootout, Jeff Carter started things off and make no mistake putting Los Angeles up early. After Jonathan Quick stopped Matt Duchene, Dustin Brown scored top put the Kings up by a pair. Colorado’s PA Parenteau scored to put the Avs on the board but it wasn’t enough as Anze Kopitar sealed the win with a goal to give Los Angeles the win and give them 50 points on the year.

It should be clear by now that if the Los Angeles Kings can take their play from the first period of games and duplicate that for the rest of the contest, they could winning games a lot easier. After two goals and outshooting the Avs 15-4, Los Angeles’ first period was evidently their best of the evening and while a win’s a win, they can always find ways to improve.

A win is a win though and with the win, the Kings have won the season series against the Avalanche. Now, they prepare for their Saturday matchup when they play host to the hated Anaheim Ducks in what will be the fifth and final meeting of the season between the SoCal rivals.

Tags: Anze Kopitar Colorado Avalanche Dustin Brown Jeff Carter Jonathan Quick Los Angeles Kings Mike Richards

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