COLORADO TAKES GAME ONE OF A HOCKEY DOUBLE HEADER 3-2
By Bobby Scribe,
The Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche are going in different directions. Colorado’s glory days are behind them. The announcement of Joe Sakic’s retirement was symbolic of that end. One could argue that the Kings’ acquisition of Ryan Smyth in the offseason was more evidence of the same.
Are the Kings’ glory days ahead? Yes…but not tonight. Though neither team played a good 60 minutes, the Avalanche played 40 and that was good enough.
The Kings were in control of the play in the first period. They outshot the Avalanche 14 to 7, established a good forecheck and worked the puck with speed through the neutral zone. The forwards played an aggressive game, back checked and communicated well with the defense to keep the Avalanche’s chances few and far between. Meanwhile, the Kings’ shots got through and they were buzzing around Avalanche goaltender Craig Anderson. Peter Harrold scored at 11:17 after a head’s up play and a nice feed by Raitis Ivanans through the crease. Jack Johnson received the second assist. Richard Clune, fighting for a spot on the 4th line, fought twice for good measure and with the exception of the closing minutes of the period, at which time Colorado finally established sustained pressure, this game appeared to be all Kings. Unfortunately, the final minute of the first period became the theme for the second and third.
The Avalanche tied the game 1-1 in the second period when Paul Stastny jumped on a loose puck and let it loose as soon as it touched his stick. The shot appeared to surprise Ersberg. Colorado took the lead 2 to 1 on veteran forward Milan Hejduk’s goal later in the period. The Kings could not capitalize on an unusual call, a penalty shot awarded to Marc-Andre Cliche after Kyle Cuminskey broke Cliche’s stick in half while Cliche headed on a breakaway.
In the third, TJ Hensick capitalized on a Jack Johnson turnover and padded the Avalanche lead to two goals. Kyle Clifford then received a penalty but Brad Richardson, who offered a strong game and used his speed well, stole the puck from the Colorado netminder and passed it to Trevor Lewis who put it up high for a short-handed goal to close the gap. That is as close as the Kings would get this night.
These same two teams will face off against each other at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas this Saturday at Frozen Fury XII. Lakingsnews.com will be there for all the action both on and off the ice.