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Over Time, Kings Win

Hockey: Avalanche sunk by a sub as Modry scores winner in 4-3 victory.


DENVER — Jaroslav Modry would not be in the Kings' lineup if not for Lubomir Visnovsky's wrist injury. And he wasn't supposed to be on the right point Thursday night during an overtime power play against the Colorado Avalanche.

"Things turned around," the Czech-born defenseman said. "I was supposed to play the left side but it was a broken play."

That broken play fixed all that was wrong with the Kings.

Jozef Stumpel won a faceoff from Joe Sakic, pump-faked goaltender Patrick Roy out of position and then fed Modry on the right side for a shot that sailed just beyond the goalie's left hand 14:23 into overtime, giving the Kings a dramatic 4-3 victory over the Avalanche at the Pepsi Center in the first game of their second-round NHL playoff series.

In winning, the Kings set a club record of five consecutive playoff victories. They're 3-0 in overtime this spring.

"We feel lots of confidence," said Stumpel, who returned to Southern California Wednesday to be with his wife for the birth of their daughter, Kali, and rejoined the team at noon Thursday.

"But for the next game, we have to get better and play better."

Stumpel, who still wore the hospital bracelet from his daughter's birth, said he knew Roy and Colorado's defense expected him to shoot with the man advantage. The Kings had gained the power play when Adam Foote was penalized for holding Ziggy Palffy as Palffy tried to snake between Foote and Ray Bourque.

"The lane was not open," Stumpel said, "but as soon as I faked it, the lane was open and I made the pass. Modry did an excellent job."

Said Modry: "I saw Patrick was facing [Stumpel] and he didn't get across in time. This was fun. We got the first win and let's just keep going."

It was an unlikely victory, and hardly exemplary. Roy looked shaky, giving up three goals in regulation on 16 shots, but the Kings didn't help matters by taking merely two shots in the second period.

"Everyone knows how well the Stumpel-Palffy-[Adam] Deadmarsh line played against Detroit," King Coach Andy Murray said, "but they didn't play well for the first two periods tonight, and I challenged them going into overtime.

"I told our guys after the second period the first two periods reminded me of our first two games against Detroit [both losses]."

Modry's goal sent the 18,007 fans scurrying for the exits in shock after Colorado's first playoff loss. The Avalanche had swept the injury-depleted Vancouver Canucks in the first round.

"We weren't going to go through the whole playoffs without a loss," Foote said. "People will be calling this a big failure, tonight's game. They can call it whatever they want. But we've got 24 guys in here and the coaches and we're just going to have to be positive. We know we have a great team, and we'll get it turned around."

The game, already emotionally charged by the confrontation between players involved in the teams' major trade Feb. 1, featured a wild series of turnarounds.

The Kings had scored first, at 9:20 of the first period, when Glen Murray ended a 12-game playoff drought with a hard shot from the right side. The Avalanche matched that at 15:59, when Chris Drury took advantage of poor defensive zone coverage by the Kings and lifted a shot over goalie Felix Potvin.

A four-on-four goal by former King Rob Blake from the right circle gave Colorado the lead at 2:40 of the second period, but the Kings matched that at 9:29, after former Avalanche forward Deadmarsh intercepted a clearing pass by Martin Skoula and sent the puck toward the net, where Nelson Emerson banged it in.

The Kings didn't get a shot in the third period until 10:53 had been played, but they scored on their second shot, a wrist shot by Murray from the high slot at the 13-minute mark after good setups from Mathieu Schneider and Bryan Smolinski.

But after Palffy was penalized for high-sticking Foote at 15:10, the Avalanche needed only 20 seconds to tie the score, 3-3, on a Peter Forsberg rebound.

"They doubled us in shots [33-16 in regulation]. We've got to be better than that," Deadmarsh said. "We didn't play very well in the first two periods. But it counts as a win. And we know we've got to come out with a better effort in the next game. We definitely have room to improve."

Emerson claimed he had had a dream Thursday afternoon that Glen Murray would score two goals--but against Pittsburgh. Murray had to laugh.

"The Cat [Potvin] played great, but we've got to generate more shots and support him," Murray said. "They were keeping Ziggy, Stumpy and Deadmarsh in check pretty good, so everyone else had to pick it up.

"It's weird in the playoffs how it goes."

The series continues Saturday afternoon at the Pepsi Center, where the Avalanche had not lost since Game 1 of its 1999 second-round series. "We just have to make sure we come out and play better in Game 2," Sakic said. "We have to avoid those turnovers, because they can score goals. You have to win on the road in the playoffs anyway, so we have to make sure we come out hard in Game 2."

For expanded coverage of the King-Avalanche series, including photo galleries and live updates, please visit the Times' Web site:



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