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Banking It In

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

Mark an assist for the back end-boards. Actually make it two.

The Colorado Avalanche quickly erased a one-goal deficit to begin the third period with three goals – two of which banked off the wall behind Kings netminder Jonathan Quick.

“Maybe we should start missing the net,” joked Gabriel Landeskog after the game. “Sometimes you get those lucky bounces and tonight they were on our side.”

The Avs were slowly gaining momentum as the first two periods went along and came into the final period with a lot of energy. That energy quickly blew the cap off a sold-out Pepsi Center as the crowd erupted three times in less than eight minutes.

In the first minute of the final stanza, Colorado was taking every shot they could, even if the pucks didn’t find a way to Quick.

The Avs began the bank-in scoring when a Jan Hejda’s shot from the point went wide. The puck took a weird bounce off the back wall and onto Landeskog’s stick at the right side of the crease, and the Colorado captain threw it into the open net to tie the game at 1-1 at the 1-minute mark of the period.

“It’s always good to get that first one and tie it up against the defending champions,” Landeskog said of his goal. “We knew if we got the first one, we could’ve kept going.”

And Colorado did as David Jones scored 95 seconds later to give Colorado the lead. Jones’ goal came on the power play and came after the Kings turned over the puck deep in their own zone. Paul Stastny chipped the puck to the slot where the right winger took his time setting up before wristing a shot over the glove hand of Quick.

Colorado used the wall again at 8:16 when Ryan Wilson’s shot went wide, banged off the glass and to Erik Johnson, who chipped it to the front of the net for an easy goal by PA Parenteau.

“I just went to the net and I got rewarded for it,” Parenteau said. “It’s a good feeling to score in my first home game with the Avs.”

The victory marked the fifth straight for Colorado against Los Angeles as the Avalanche swept the four-game series last season – the only team in the Western Conference to do so versus the eventual Stanley Cup champions.

Strong On The PK

The Los Angeles Kings had six power play chances in Tuesday’s game, and each time they were stopped by the Colorado penalty kill unit.

The Avs’ 6-for-6 penalty kill game marked the first time Colorado has accomplished the feat since Jan. 12, 2012 at Nashville.

“We’ve been talking about not giving up on plays, creating turnovers and stuff like that,” Landeskog said of his team’s defense. “We were all working hard all night.”

Varlamov Keeping It Close

Colorado wouldn’t have been able to come-from-behind in the third period if it weren’t for Semyon Varlamov in net.

Despite giving up one goal in the first period, Varlamov made 11 saves and made another 10 in the second. He finished the game with 28 stops.

“Varly was kicking just like he was in Minnesota,” Landeskog said of his goalie. “He’s been huge, and we just want to try to help him in front.”

Other Notes:

Defenseman Erik Johnson appeared in his 300th career NHL game.

Tuesday marked the 28th birthday for center John Mitchell.

Gabriel Landeskog was honored before the game for winning the 2011-12 Calder Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year. The trophy was on hand as well as Ralph Backstrom, the 1959 winner of the award and the founder of the Colorado Eagles hockey club of the ECHL.

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