DENVER — The Los Angeles Kings got back into the win column this preseason as they pulled out a 2-1 shootout win at the Pepsi Center against the Colorado Avalanche. Unfortunately for the silver-and-black, said win was a potentially-costly one.
Eight minutes into the first period, Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin was checked hard into the boards by Colorado’s Blake Comeau. As devastating as the hit was, though, Muzzin continued to play a few more shifts but eventually had to leave the game, gone before the second period got under way.
Fellow defenseman Matt Greene did not play in the third period, though he was on the bench for the entire frame. According to the game log, Greene’s final shift of the night occurred with 3:33 remaining in the second period. Both he and Muzzin have, according to Kings public relations, “upper-body” injuries.
While a member of the Kings’ hockey operations did speak to LAKingsInsider about Muzzin’s injury, the severity, in addition to the location of said injury, were unclear. Head coach Darryl Sutter declined to comment on the severity of Muzzin’s injury following the game.
As for Matt Greene, he will be re-evaluated on Monday.
But it wasn’t all bad for the Kings on this night. In addition to the win, Michael Mersch continues to prove that he deserves consideration to make the big club this year. As active as Mersch has been during the preseason thus far, he had yet to score a goal entering Sunday night. That changed at the 13:19 mark of the opening frame as his backhand shot beat Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov to open the scoring. Jordan Nolan, in his first game of the preseason, picked up the lone assist on the tally.
Jonathan Quick started in the Los Angeles goal, stopping 10 of 11 shots. Tyson Barrie was the only Av able to solve Quick, tying the game 1:39 into the second.
Peter Budaj came on in the third for Los Angeles, stopping all seven shots he faced before captain Dustin Brown won the game for the silver-and-black in the shootout. Before Brown’s winner, Tanner Pearson opened the shootout scoring for Los Angeles before Gabriel Landeskog knotted it up for the Avs.
Semyon Varlamov was solid in a losing effort, stopping 35 of 36 shots en route to earning first-star honours.
Before meeting the Avalanche next weekend in Las Vegas, the Kings will return home on Tuesday night to host the Anaheim Ducks, hoping to avenge their Friday-night loss to their crosstown rivals.