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Kings can't sustain lead, fall 4-3 to Colorado

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES – Although the Kings came out of the gates with a phenomenal start, they couldn’t sustain a third period lead in their 4-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday night at STAPLES Center.

The Kings came out firing in the first period on Colorado’s Calvin Pickard, who was making just his fifth start of the season. The Kings’ 18 shots during the first 20 minutes earned them an early 2-0 lead.

Midway through the first, and just as a span of four-on-four expired, Drew Doughty surprised Colorado with an offensive rush, scoring his 10th goal of the season.

After digging a puck out of the corner of Colorado’s zone, Anze Kopitar picked his head up and fired a pass through the neutral zone which Drew Doughty sped into, beating defenseman Nick Holden wide to the right as he entered the Avalanche zone, cutting across and beating Calvin Pickard with a backhand shot to the blocker side.

For Doughty, it was the first shorthanded goal of his career; and the first for a Kings defenseman since Willie Mitchell’s on October 28, 2010 against Dallas.

During the final moments of the first, Dwight King caused Colorado to turn the puck over in the neutral zone, feeding Trevor Lewis who entered the Avalanche zone on a two-on-one with Vincent Lecavalier.

Lewis found Lecavalier with a pass then drove straight to Colorado’s net. Lecavalier, with a slick move beat an Avalanche defender to the right side, then fed Lewis a backhand pass which he tipped home to give the Kings a 2-0 lead.

Matt Duchene got the Avalanche on the board 42 seconds into the second period.

Seven minutes into the second, Gabriel Landeskog scored to tie the game 2-2.

Later in the second, Jeff Carter dumped a puck into Colorado’s zone which Jordan Nolan hopped on behind the Avalanche net. Using body position to protect the puck, Nolan drove to the left side of Calvin Pickard’s net, finding Dwight King with a seeing-eye pass which he shoveled home past the Avalanche goaltender.

Gabriel Landeskog netted his second goal of the game during a power play seven minutes into the third to knot the score at 3-3.

With 9:25 to play in regulation, Nathan MacKinnon one-timed a shot past Jonathan Quick to give the Avalanche their first lead of the evening, one they would hold onto to win the game 4-3.

Dwight King (1G, 1A) led all Kings players in points scored (2), Alec Martinez, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli in shots taken (4), Luke Schenn in hits delivered (5), Luke Schenn in shots blocked (2), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (28:32). Jonathan Quick made 15 saves in the loss.

The Kings will now take a five-day break from action for the 2016 NHL All-Star Game; they’ll return to action when they take on the Arizona Coyotes Tuesday night at Gila River Arena, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 6:00 PM PST.

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