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Avalanche/Kings Notebook

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Avs' Comeback Falls Just Short
-The Avalanche will now have four full days off for the NHL All-Star break. Colorado returns to practice on Monday and will then host San Jose on Tuesday (Jan. 27) at Pepsi Center

-The Avs wore their white road jerseys tonight, while the Kings wore their black jerseys, which are normally reserved for home contests

-Brian Willsie’s third period goal was his first of the season. The forward recorded seven goals in 69 games during his first stint with Colorado (1999-2003)
-The Avs took the season series from the Kings, 3-1

-Chris Stewart recorded his first career "Gordie Howe Hat Trick" with a goal, an assist and a fight tonight. Stewart's first career NHL goal also came against the Los Angeles Kings on Dec. 9.

-Defenseman Ruslan Salei picked up two assists tonight and has totaled four points (1g/3a) over the past two games.

Post-Game Video:
Chris Stewart
Wojtek Wolski
You’re not going to win too many games in the National Hockey League when you give up five goals in one period. However, the Avalanche nearly bucked that trend during Wednesday night’s 6-5 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at Pepsi Center.

The Kings scored five times in the second period, staking the club to a 6-3 lead after 40 minutes of play. Only a Chris Stewart tally with 7.2 seconds remaining in the middle frame prevented the visitors from taking a four-goal lead into the second intermission.

But that goal by Stewart – on which he knocked the rebound of a T.J. Hensick shot out of mid-air and into the net – provided a big spark to his squad.

The Avalanche took that bit of momentum and came out swinging in the third period. First, Brian Willsie struck at 5:53 when Los Angeles netminder Jonathan Quick put an errant clearing attempt right on his stick. Willsie wasted no time firing a shot high glove side to make it a 6-4 contest.

Only 1:43 later, Cody McLeod brought the Pepsi Center crowd to its feet by depositing the rebound of a Darcy Tucker shot for his 11th goal of the season. Suddenly, a comeback that seemed impossible became a reality.

With only 6:29 remaining in the contest Kings rookie defenseman Drew Doughty was sent to the box for hooking, giving the Avalanche a prime opportunity to even the score. However, Ryan Smyth was whistled for interference 41 seconds later, negating the man-advantage.

The Avalanche had a handful of chances down the stretch – including a Smyth drive to the net with only seconds left on the clock –  but couldn’t even the game.

 “That just shows what this team can do when they show up and play a 20-minute period like we did at the end," said Stewart. "We came close but in this league you have to play a full 60 minutes to win games. This definitely leaves a sour taste in your mouth. We’ll be thinking about this one until we get back."

Avs Streaking
Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles assisted on Marek Svatos’ first period goal, giving him helpers in three straight games. Liles still has a ways to go before matching his career-high assist streak of six games (seven assists total), set from Jan. 14-26, 2006.

Liles isn’t the only Colorado player who will carry a point streak into the All-Star break. Hensick and Stewart each recorded a goal and an assist tonight, giving both players three-game point streaks (2g/2a).

Svatos has now scored in back-to-back games and has three tallies in his last five outings. The forward has now totaled five points (3g/2a) in the Avalanche’s past six contests, including a three-game point streak of his own (2g/1a).

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