Mueller leads Avs past Kings, 3-1
Sunday, 01.22.2012 / 1:12 AM
's inspirational comeback continues.
Mueller had the go-ahead goal in his fifth game back following a concussion, Cody McLeod
scored on a breakaway and Jean-Sebastien Giguere
made 25 saves as the Colorado Avalanche
beat the Los Angeles Kings
3-1 at Staples Center on Saturday night.
Mueller put the Avalanche ahead 2-1 with 1:05 left in the second period by tipping in a long wrist shot from the high slot by T.J. Galiardi. It was his third goal since returning from a career-threatening concussion that had sidelined him since April 4, 2010. Mueller scored Colorado's first two goals Wednesday night in a 4-3 overtime victory against the Florida Panthers.
""We're really happy for him. He's been through a tough battle," Giguere said. "None of us can even imagine what that's like. But he's having fun right now, which he didn't have for the last two years. And it's nice to see that."
added a power-play goal with 1:57 left in regulation as the Avs spoiled Kings goalie Jonathan Quick
's 26th birthday.
"I liked the way we played tonight," said Avs coach Joe Sacco, whose team plays at Anaheim on Sunday. "The whole team worked hard, and I thought we had a good pace to our game. Jiggy was very solid in net, like he has been for us."
Giguere, signed to back up and mentor Semyon Varlamov
, is 8-2-1 in his last 11 starts.
"Giggy's a pro and he's a competitor. He gets in there and gives you a chance to win every night," Colorado defenseman Shane O'Brien
said. "He's been great with Varly, and now he's playing a bit more and taking advantage of it. There's a reason why he won a Stanley Cup and a Conn Smythe Trophy and why he's played as long as he has. He's huge in the dressing room, he's huge on the bus and in the plane, and he's huge in net for us."
It was the third win by the Avs in their three meetings with the Kings this season. Colorado remained in eighth place in the West with 54 points, one more than Minnesota. Los Angeles is seventh with 56.
Quick stopped 28 shots, but the Kings continue to struggle to score -- they've scored two goals or fewer in 20 of his 21 losses, including overtime and shootouts.
"After the game, I said to Quickie, 'Hang in there buddy, we're going to get this,'" forward Justin Williams
said. "I know he’s frustrated, obviously, with the late penalty. He's frustrated that we’re not scoring goals and supporting him. I'm sure he will never say that, but we've got to do that for him as well. We've got to get going, and that obviously includes our line as well. If there's only one line going that night, then they've got to score two, they've got to score three, and we certainly had the chance to do that."
It was just the second regulation loss for the Kings in 16 games since Darryl Sutter replaced Terry Murray as coach (8-2-6) -- the other one was a 1-0 defeat against Columbus in which Quick faced a season-low 18 shots.
"We've got to find more ways to score goals," captain Dustin Brown
said. "There's maybe some guys gripping the stick, but at the end of the day, guys have got to find the back of the net. It can't just be one or two guys. That's what it feels like it's been, at least lately. We need more goals from lots of people."
The Avalanche took 10 of the first 13 shots on goal before Los Angeles forward Dustin Penner
received a double minor at 12:02 of the first period for cutting Cody McLeod
with a high stick. But the Kings' penalty-killers kept the puck away from Quick before Kyle Quincey
's interference infraction nullified the final 49 seconds of the long power play. Colorado didn't get another shot the rest of the period.
The Kings had just one shot on net in the final 15:21 of the opening period, and didn't get another one until Giguere stopped Brown's point-blank attempt from 10 feet in the left circle and Anze Kopitar
pumped the rebound into a wide-open net at 5:34 of the second for his team-high 15th goal.
Colorado tied it at 13:35 on McLeod's third goal of the season. Defenseman Stefan Elliott
hit McLeod with a stretch pass has McLeod was breaking between defensemen Matt Greene
and Willie Mitchell
. McLeod stuffed the puck between Quick's pads as the goaltender backed up.
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report