Kings' Trevor Lewis celebrates his short-handed goal against Colorado. (Harry How / Getty Images )
This time, the Kings did not have to worry about a third-period collapse against Colorado.
They seized control with a goal in the first minute by captain Dustin Brown and built on that foundation with goals from Jeff Carter, Trevor Lewis and Anze Kopitar. Then they proceeded to smother the Avalanche in the third period on their way to a 4-1 victory Saturday afternoon.
Brown’s goal came just 58 seconds into the game, a sharp one-timer, and then Carter’s wrist shot from the high slot made it 2-0 at 14:22. Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov looked shaky early as he gave up two goals on the Kings’ first four shots. Carter, who has a team-leading nine goals, has scored five goals in the last six games.
“It’s just kind of coming together,” Carter said. “…There was a lot of room today.”
Kopitar assisted on Brown’s goal, making it his first multipoint game since he scored twice against Phoenix on Jan. 26.
The biggest momentum swing came after the Avalanche cut the Kings lead to 2-1 with a power-play goal just 1:16 into the second period. The Kings responded with their first short-hander of the season. Lewis got the goal, at 2:51, but the big play eventually leading to it came down in the Kings’ end with a blocked shot by center Jarret Stoll.
The win was a far cry from their first game this season against the Avalanche on Jan. 22. In Denver, the Kings blew a third-period lead and allowed three goals in the first 8:16 of the third. They had not lost in regulation when leading after two periods in 95 games (86-0-9), going back to April 2, 2009, at Phoenix.
That was the second game of the season. Saturday happened to be a rare matinee offering at Staples Center, and marked the fifth victory in the last six games for the Kings. In fact, it was an afternoon game that seemed to turn the Kings' fortunes around almost two weeks ago.
Even though they lost to Detroit in the final five seconds, players and coaches felt that it was the team’s best game of the season and the only loss to mar the Kings’ record since then was to league-leading Chicago on Feb. 17.
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