LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dustin Brown and Jeff Carter scored first-period goals, Trevor Lewis added his first career short-handed goal, and the Los Angeles Kings beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 on Saturday for their third straight victory.
Anze Kopitar also scored and Jonathan Quick made 23 saves for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who won for the fifth time in six games after beginning the day 11th in the Western Conference and two points out of a playoff spot. Last season, the Kings became the first team in history to win the Cup as an eighth seed.
Milan Hejduk scored a power-play goal for the Avalanche, who had won their previous five meetings with the Kings. Semyon Varlamov made 22 saves.
Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, who missed 11 games because of a concussion after he took a hit from Brad Stuart of the Sharks on Jan. 26 at San Jose, returned to action. The 20-year-old left wing from Stockholm was last season’s rookie of the year.
The Kings, who were outscored 18-5 in the first period through their first 15 games, took a 1-0 lead just 58 seconds after the opening faceoff. Brown converted a cross-ice pass from Justin Williams for his fifth goal, beating Varlamov to the stick side with a one-timer from 40 feet.
Carter scored his ninth of the season and fifth in six games, beating Varlamov low to the stick side with a 35-foot wrist shot from the slot for a 2-0 lead after Mike Richards backhanded the puck to him from the left boards. Quick helped keep the score that way through the end of the first, robbing Paul Stastny just in front of the crease in the final minute after a perfect setup by Landeskog.
The Avalanche got on the board at 1:16 of the second period with a goal by Hejduk during a 4-on-3 power play, but the Kings responded about 90 seconds later with their first short-handed goal of the season. Lewis put a soft wrist shot between Varlamov’s pads from the right circle after Jarret Stoll blocked a slapshot by Tyson Barrie at the other end.
Kopitar made it 4-1 at 16:42 of the second with a 25-foot snap shot that beat Varlamov to the stick side after Dustin Penner circled the net and fed Kopitar in the slot.
NOTES: A moment of silence was observed for Jerry Buss, who died last Monday at age 80. He purchased the Kings, Lakers and the Inglewood Forum from Jack Kent Cooke in 1979, winning 10 NBA titles in 33-plus seasons with the Lakers. Buss owned the Kings for nine seasons, including 1981-82, when Daryl Evans scored the winning goal in the “Miracle on Manchester” playoff victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Buss also helped bring the NHL All-Star game to the Forum in February 1981. … C Ian Laperriere, whose 15-year NHL career included nine seasons for Los Angeles and four with Colorado, was honored by the Kings in a pregame ceremony — the first installment of the team’s annual “Legends Series.” Kelly Hrudey, the only goaltender other than Quick to lead the Kings to the Stanley Cup Finals (1993), will get the same treatment on March 9 before the game against Calgary.
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