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Rapid Recap: Avalanche 3, Kings 2

Defensemen provide offensive in Colorado's victory in L.A.

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Saturday night to sweep the back-to-back at Staples Center.

It was Colorado's fourth straight sweep of a consecutive-night set this season, setting a new franchise record. The team improved its record to a combined 14-1-3 in back-to-back scenarios.

Devon Toews scored twice for Avs for his first career multi-goal game, while fellow defenseman Cale Makar also found the back of the net.

Makar recorded an assist as well, and forward Andre Burakovsky contributed two helpers to pick up a multi-point performance. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, J.T. Compher and Mikko Rantanen also had assists.

Goaltender Jonas Johansson stopped 16 shots and improved to 4-1-1 in six starts since joining the Avs in March. The Avalanche outshot the Kings 30-18, holding its opponent to single digits in each period.

Colorado led 2-1 after the first period and added to its advantage with Toews' second marker midway through the second frame. Sean Walker and Rasmus Kulpari scored for Los Angeles.

The clubs meet again on Wednesday and Thursday in Denver in the final two regular-season contests of 2020-21 for both clubs.

THE GOALS

1st Period
4:46 COL (1-0) - Devon Toews gathered the puck after a Kings turnover in the mid slot and scored with a wrister.
10:31 COL (2-0) - PPG, Cale Makar doubled Colorado's lead with a one-timer at the blue line from a pass by Mikko Rantanen.
13:58 LAK (2-1) - Sean Walker chipped the puck into the cage after a cross-pass from Gabriel Vilardi.

2nd Period
9:45 COL (3-1) - Devon Toews took a pass from Cale Makar at the left circle and tallied his second goal of the night.

3rd Period
5:21 LAK (3-2) - Rasmus Kupari recorded his first career NHL goal from a shot at the left circle.

Final: Avalanche - 3 | Kings - 2

3 STARS

  1. Devon Toews (COL): Scored twice
  2. Cale Makar (COL): Goal and assist
  3. Rasmus Kupari (LAK): Scored first career goal

Selected by Los Angeles media

POWER PLAYS

Colorado: 1 for 3
Los Angeles: 0 for 2

GOALTENDING BATTLE

Colorado: Jonas Johansson made 16-of-18 saves.
Los Angeles: Calvin Peterson faced 30 shots and stopped 27 of them.

STAT OF THE NIGHT

Devon Toews scored twice for his first career multi-goal game. The defenseman has eight career multi-point outings and half of those have come this season, his first with the Avalanche.

It was the first multi-goal game by a Colorado D-man this year and the first since Cale Makar recorded two markers on Nov. 21, 2019 at Minnesota.

Toews, who was wearing an A as an alternate captain, has eight goals and 20 assists this year, and his 28 points tied his career high for the most in a single campaign (2019-20 with New York Islanders).

NOTEBOOK

Colorado finished its ninth of 10 back-to-back sets this season, improving to 6-0-3 in the second game. The club is a combined 13-1-3 in consecutive-night sets this year, with a 8-1-0 mark in the first game. The Avs have swept four straight back-to-backs, setting a new franchise record... Andre Burakovsky recorded two assists and extended his season-long point streak to five games (three goals, five assists)... Cale Makar had two points to bring his season total to 43, four behind the league lead in scoring by a defenseman. It was his 11th multi-point game of the season... The Avs are now 3-1-0 on the five-game road trip… The Avs outshot the Kings 30-18 and by a 67-35 margin over the two games, holding L.A. to single-digit totals in each of the six periods... The team has won four games in a row and are 5-1-0 in the season series. Colorado and L.A. conclude the series in the season-finale set in Denver next week... The Avalanche finishes the regular season with a 7-1-2 record on Saturdays.

BIG HIGHLIGHT

Video: COL@LAK: Makar buries heavy shot from the point

IMAGE OF THE GAME

ROSTER REPORT 

Jonas Johansson made his first start in goal since April 26. Jayson Megna played his first Avs game since March 8, skating on the fourth line with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Kiefer Sherwood. Carl Soderberg (maintenance) did not play. After not being able to finish Friday's contest following a collision into the boards in the second period, defenseman Patrik Nemeth returned for Saturday's outing with his defensive partner being Jacob MacDonald. 

INJURY UPDATE

Nathan MacKinnon missed his second straight game with a minor lower-body injury. Samuel Girard (lower body) and Brandon Saad (lower body) could possibly return to the lineup in the final two games of the regular season, as both are participating in off-ice workouts in Denver. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk has been in COVID-19 protocol since Monday and is currently quarantining in San Jose. Rookie D-man Bowen Byram (upper body) is out week-to-week. Both Matt Calvert (upper body) and Logan O'Connor (lower body) are out long term, with O'Connor recently having surgery. Erik Johnson (upper body) could possibly return later in the playoffs, while goaltender Pavel Francouz (lower body) is out for the remainder of the campaign.

UP NEXT

The Avalanche concludes its final road trip of the regular season on Monday at the Vegas Golden Knights in a game that could decide the top seed in the West Division. Colorado wraps up the season on Wednesday and Thursday versus the Kings at Ball Arena 

LINE COMBINATIONS

Based on the start of the game
Forwards
92 Gabriel Landeskog - 17 Tyson Jost - 96 Mikko Rantanen
13 Valeri Nichushkin - 91 Nazem Kadri - 72 Joonas Donskoi
95 Andre Burakovsky - 18 Alex Newhook - 37 J.T. Compher
12 Jayson Megna - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 44 Kiefer Sherwood 

Defensemen
7 Devon Toews - 8 Cale Makar
27 Ryan Graves - 22 Conor Timmins
26 Jacob MacDonald - 24 Patrik Nemeth

Goaltenders
35 Jonas Johansson
31 Philipp Grubauer

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