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Another Solid Outing For Berra

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

Reto Berra was back in the crease for the Colorado Avalanche and had another solid outing. However unlike two nights earlier, Berra and the Avs couldn't pull out the win.

Berra stopped 38 shots, but the Los Angeles Kings held on for a 2-1 victory on Sunday night at Staples Center.

"He was very good," Colorado head coach Patrick Roy said of his goalie. "He made some key saves in key moments of the game."

The Swiss netminder was making his second consecutive start after he put together a 35-save shutout in a win over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.

It was Berra's second straight shutout as he had his first career perfect game in his final outing last season on April 9 against the Winnipeg Jets. Berra, who also had a scoreless appearance in relief this season, stretched his shutout streak to 203:02 before Marian Gaborik tallied for the Kings at 13:38 of the opening period.

The only other shot to get past the Colorado goalie was a breakaway tally by Tyler Toffoli to the glove side with 3:40 left in the second stanza.

After that, Berra shut the door again. He stopped all 14 shots in the third period and made several big saves in the final minutes to keep it a one-goal game and give the Avs a chance to tie the contest.

Berra was particularly good on not giving many rebound opportunities.

"He is really sound in front of his net," Roy said. "He's under control, and everything seems pretty easy for him right now."

Colorado ended up having two great chances to score in the final 8.2 seconds with slap shots from defensemen Francois Beauchemin and Erik Johnson, but neither attempt nor the ensuing rebounds could get past L.A. goalie Jonathan Quick.

"It was hard fought game and because we defended somewhat good I thought we had a chance to win this hockey game," Roy said.

The Avs' next contest is Wednesday at home against the Carolina Hurricanes. Roy would likely announce the starting goalie for that game after Tuesday's practice.

DUCHENE, POWER PLAY TALLIES

Matt Duchene found the back of the net for the first time this season, scoring on a power play in the second period to tie the contest at 1-1.

Matt Duchene

After a slap shot from Jarome Iginla rebounded off Quick and to Carl Soderberg at the low left circle, Soderberg threw a cross-slot pass through traffic to an open Duchene with a gaping net to shoot at.

"I think you could tell by my reaction that I was relieved," said Duchene, who double fist pumped on his knees and jumped into the end boards before celebrating with his teammates. "I think I had been doing some good things the last few games, but it hasn't resulted in points or goals. Hopefully that is the start of that."

The Avs finished 1-for-6 on the power play and have now scored on the man advantage in four of the five games this season. Colorado entered the contest ranked first in the NHL with the extra man, converting 41.7 percent (5-for-12) of its opportunities

"I think the coaching staff has done a good job," Duchene said. "We've worked on a couple different options this year, and things have been going better."

On the defensive side of special teams, the Avalanche's penalty-kill unit was perfect. It denied all four Los Angeles power plays, including three in the third period.

STUART RETURNS TO LINEUP

Defenseman Brad Stuart returned to the Avalanche lineup, replacing suspended Tyson Barrie.

Stuart made his season debut last Wednesday against the Boston Bruins but was scratched against the Ducks on Friday night. The veteran D-man was paired with Nick Holden on back end and finished the game against the Kings with two hits and a blocked shot in 12:05 of ice time.

Barrie was serving the first game of a three-game suspension, which was handed down by the league late on Saturday night. The NHL Department of Player Safety ruled that the 5-foot-10 blueliner had interfered and charged Anaheim's Simon Despres when he delivered a check in the Avs' last game.

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