LA Kings hold off Colorado 3-2 in shootout
Posted at: 04/12/2013 3:05 AM
By GREG BEACHAM
(AP) LOS ANGELES - Jeff Carter scored his 24th goal and scored again in the shootout, and the Los Angeles Kings moved back into fourth place in the Western Conference with a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.
Mike Richards scored in the first period and Jonathan Quick made 26 saves for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who ended a two-game losing streak. Captain Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar also scored in Los Angeles’ 3-for-3 shootout against Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Patrick Bordeleau scored his first career goal with 14:55 to play to even it for the last-place Avalanche, who nearly pulled another upset in Southern California.
Paul Stastny also scored for Colorado, which ended a 14-game, road-losing streak since Feb. 14 with a 4-1 win at powerful Anaheim on Wednesday.
Sami Aittokallio stopped 23 shots in his NHL debut for the Avalanche before leaving because of cramps in both legs with 10:36 to play in regulation. Giguere stopped 12 shots after relieving Aittokallio, but couldn’t stop any Kings in the shootout.
Quick turned aside Matt Duchene’s clean breakaway in the third period while earning his 145th career victory, pulling the Conn Smythe Trophy winner even with Kelly Hrudey for the second-most wins in franchise history.
The Kings got back on track after giving up four goals in the third period of their previous game, a 5-1 loss in Dallas on Tuesday. Los Angeles hasn’t lost three straight since an 0-2-1 start to the season. Los Angeles (23-14-4) leaped one point back ahead of San Jose, which has a game in hand on the Kings.
Colorado had lost five straight until knocking off the Pacific Division-leading Ducks, responding to Giguere’s pointed public criticism with its most impressive win in a month. After relieving Aittokallio, Giguere made a huge save in the final 30 seconds of regulation, scrambling on his hands and knees to glove Carter’s attempt at a wraparound goal.
The Avalanche recalled Aittokallio from the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters on Tuesday at the close of his first North American pro season while Semyon Varlamov is sidelined with an injured hip.
Aittokallio gave up two goals in the first 7 1/2 minutes of his debut, but recovered and played well until he went down in a heap untouched midway through the third period while the short-handed Kings pressed the action in Colorado’s end. Aittokallio appeared to move awkwardly in his crease before falling, and the Avalanche took him to the dressing room.
Colorado also lost defenseman Erik Johnson early to an hand injury.
Carter scored 5 1/2 minutes into the first period during a power play, finding a small hole over Aittokallio’s far shoulder with an impressive wrist shot. Just 1:47 later, Richards scored on a broken play _ specifically the broken shaft of Jake Muzzin’s stick as he took a long shot. Richards got the puck in the slot and fired it past Aittokallio for his 10th goal.
But the Kings showed little passion after those scores, and Colorado scored when Jones jarred the puck loose behind the net and fed Stastny, who jammed the puck under Quick for his ninth goal _ his first since returning Wednesday from an eight-game absence with a foot injury.
Bordeleau evened it when his long shot deflected off Kyle Clifford’s stick, slowing down the puck to a change-up that slid past an unsuspecting Quick. The 27-year-old Bordeleau made his NHL debut this season, but didn’t score a goal in his first 38 games for Colorado.
NOTES: Colorado kept C Milan Hejduk out of the lineup for the seventh straight game, although the veteran scorer’s injured shoulder apparently has healed enough for him to play. ... The 20-year-old Aittokallio was a fourth-round choice in the 2010 draft. ... Richards extended his point streak to five games.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)