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Avs Win Third-Straight Preseason Game

Colorado beat Los Angeles 3-1 on Friday

by Ryan Boulding @rboulding /

The newer, fast-paced Colorado Avalanche is rolling right along in the goalscoring department.

Three games into the preseason, the Avs have tallied 12 markers en route to a 3-0-0 record. This includes Friday's 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings at Pepsi Center.

"I think that was our best game so far out of the three," Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said after the victory. "We had a hard skating lineup, a hard working lineup, but I loved our attention to detail. Within the system and the structure of our play, we were really good."

Nathan MacKinnon, dressing in his first contest since returning from the World Cup of Hockey, picked up right where he left off in Toronto. The 21-year-old opened the scoring in the first period when he buried a centering feed from linemate Rene Bourque.

"I felt good. I thought we had a good first period," MacKinnon said. "We have a lot of guys, a lot of talented hockey players in here, all competing for spots on this team. We did a great job. I think our systems are great. It felt really good, and it's obviously always nice to win."

The scoring didn't stop there. Forward Mikhail Grigorenko put his club up 2-0 when he swung down the left-side boards, cut inside and sent a backhander into the net behind Kings goaltender Jeff Zatkoff.

Los Angeles countered near the end of the first period to make it 2-1, but another tally from Grigorenko in the middle stanza all but sealed the win.

"It was a great play," said Grigorenko before crediting AJ Greer for making it happen. "You know, he made a great play to me. He saw me… It's a lot of fun being all alone with the goalie. I had good speed there, so I just made a move there and put it in."

Bourque, who is on a professional tryout with the Avalanche, also assisted on the play. He finished the night with two assists and now has four points (one goal, three assists) in two exhibition games.

"The last few years have been tough and [goals] were hard to come by," Bourque said. "For whatever reason, the last few games, [I've] just been in the right spot and making some plays.

"I love the style. You know, we're always moving, a lot of pressure. It makes you skate a lot and that's the strength of my game. If I'm moving my feet, then I'm doing my job."

Grigorenko now has three goals in two preseason contests.

Netminder Semyon Varlamov turned aside 33 shots in his exhibition debut, which was also the first time he's played a game on NHL-sized ice since April.

The Avalanche returns to action on Tuesday when it closes out the home portion of the preseason schedule against the Minnesota Wild. The puck drops at 7 p.m. and tickets are still available.

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