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Kings Rally To Beat Avalanche 5-4

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche
DENVER (AP) -- Craig Conroy scored the winning goal with 58 seconds left Wednesday night to lift the Los Angeles Kings to a come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche, who blew their second three-goal lead in a week.

Conroy scored his first goal of the season, beating David Aebischer after the goaltender went behind the net and stopped the puck for defenseman Rob Blake.

Blake arrived late and instead, Alexander Frolov got to the puck and rifled a pass to Conroy, who put it by Aebischer from point-blank range.

It marked the second big Avs meltdown in six nights and when the final buzzer sounded, the Kings celebrated while the 443rd consecutive sellout crowd at Pepsi Center booed lustily. The Avalanche finished their homestand 1-2-1, including a 5-4 loss to Nashville last Thursday after leading 3-0 early.

In the loss last week, Aebischer was guilty of a critical penalty that led to the winning power-play goal for the Predators. On this night, he was simply guilty of bad goaltending and victimized by his team's sloppy play.

Los Angeles pulled within 4-3 on a shot from top of the circle by Lubomir Visnovsky, who got the puck directly off a faceoff and ripped one past the goalie.

The Kings tied it after the Avalanche turned it over in their own zone -- a common site during this homestand -- and Eric Belanger collected the puck in the corner, lasered a pass across the crease and Sean Avery knocked it in.

The loss ruined a two-goal night for Ian Laperriere, a free-agent acquisition for Colorado this season after spending the last decade with the Kings. He scored twice and Andrew Brunette had a goal to give the Avs a seemingly comfortable 3-1 lead after the first period.

Joe Sakic scored his third goal of the season at the 6:35 mark of the second to push the lead to three. But then the Kings began their comeback.

Kings goalie Mathieu Garon wasn't tested much. He made 17 saves, but the Avalanche went nearly the first 10 minutes of the first period and the first eight minutes of the third without a shot on goal.

Aebischer finished with 25 saves.

Game notes The Avalanche played without Dan Hinote (back spasms) and Milan Hejduk (knee). Hejduk has missed all seven games, but is expected to return soon. ... With his goal, Avery extended his scoring streak to four games.

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