Game 49; 30-16-3
LOS ANGELES — They started out strong but in the end, they couldn’t get the job done as the Colorado Avalanche crawled back from two deficits to overtake the Los Angeles Kings, entering the All-Star break with a 4-3 victory.
The Kings opened the scoring nearing the halfway point of the first period. With a 4-on-4 just finishing, the silver-and-black found themselves shorthanded, but Drew Doughty made a solid individual effort to sail past the Colorado defender, beating Calvin Pickard in front for 10th of the year. Anze Kopitar and Jake Muzzin assisted on the goal.
The Kings were able to add one more before the period was out as, with 80 seconds remaining in the frame, the revitalized Vinny Lecavalier fed Trevor Lewis in front who tipped his fifth home to give Los Angeles the two-goal lead. Dwight King had the second assist on the goal.
The Avs entered Wednesday’s matchup coming off a forgettable 6-2 loss in San Jose. Netminder Calvin Pickard did not have a performance to remember as he allowed four goals before taking a seat to start the third. But Pickard and company were not determined to have history repeat itself in as many nights as just 42 seconds into the second, Matt Duchene cut the Los Angeles lead in half, beating Jonathan Quick for his 23rd. But they weren’t done there.
At the 7:10 mark of the period, captain Gabriel Landeskog potted his 12th past Quick to tie the game. The Kings, though, were not deterred by having their lead erased as, at the 15:13 mark, an unlikely duo paired up for a highlight-reel goal. It was Jordan Nolan feeding a rushing Dwight King from the side of the net to regain Los Angeles’s lead. The goal was King’s fourth with Jeff Carter getting the second assist.
In the third, though, Gabriel Landeskog was at it again, scoring his second of the night with just one second remaining in the Colorado power play to tie it. Then, just under three minutes later, Nathan MacKinnon pounced on a loose puck, beating Quick for his 18th to give the Avs their first lead of the night — a lead they would not relinquish.
Calvin Pickard had a bounce-back night on Wednesday as he made 35 saves for the win. The Kings unfortunately found themselves in penalty trouble late, some of which were controversial calls to say the least. Nevertheless, the silver-and-black were unable to protect their leads as the Avalanche deserve credit for making the most of their paltry total of 19 shots.
With the victory, the Avalanche take the season series from the Kings, winning two games to one.
With the loss, the Kings were unable to extend their six-point lead on the Sharks but are still looking strong overall as they enter the All-Star break. Speaking of which, the NHL‘s best will be heading to Nashville this weekend for the big game with Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick representing the silver-and-black.