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Kopitar helps Kings rally past Avalanche

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings
What weakened the Kings early, clinched the game for them late.

Colorado’s power play took control early on, amassing three man-advantage goals to build a lead that looked to crush the Kings’ chances. The power play, however, is what hurdled the Kings to overcome a two-goal deficit in tonight’s offensive tango at Denver’s Pepsi Center.

In their first game back from the Olympic break, Robyn Regehr got the Kings offense started just where it left off. Regehr sent a wrister past Jean-Sebastien Giguere from high atop the point for his third goal of the season to give the Kings a 1-0 lead just 5:48 into the contest.

Colorado would respond with a pair of quick goals, showcased by their quick passing, and ability to hound Martin Jones’ crease.

The Kings would respond out of the gate in the second period, as Dustin Brown delivered a perfect pass to Jarret Stoll after failing to execute on a breakaway opportunity.

Stoll snuck to the back-door, slamming home Brown’s feed for his seventh goal of the campaign to tie the game 2-2 just :24 seconds into the second period.

The Kings, then, battled with the penalty box yet again.

As Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown each received minor infractions after Stoll’s equalizer, Colorado would pot a pair of power play goals to go ahead 4-2 with 4:16 remaining in the second period.

The Kings refused to sleep on the remainder of the middle frame, as Anze Kopitar responded just 1:07 after Colorado’s fourth goal, popping home a second-chance wraparound opportunity, scoring his 18th of the season to bring the Kings within one.

Jeff Carter would knot the game for the Kings with just 1:07 left to play in the second period, demanding territory in front of Colorado’s net to deflect home a Mike Richards shot for his 21st tally of the season.

Sure, Colorado’s power play disheartened the Kings early and often, but it was the Kings’ power play that eventually won tonight’s final date with the Avalanche.

On their third power play chance of the evening, Anze Kopitar stuffed home the game-winning goal for the Kings, his 19th of the year, by pouncing on a bouncing puck that eluded the grasp of Colorado’s Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

Jeff Carter claimed his 200th career NHL assist on Kopitar’s game-winning power play goal.

Justin Williams would cement two points for the Kings, sending home an empty-net tally in the final seconds, giving the Kings a 6-4 lead, which was the evening’s final score.

Martin Jones, who stopped 24 of Colorado’s 28 shots tonight, made a pair of spectacular saves to keep the Kings within winning range.

It was Jones’ first start since the Kings were in Columbus on January 21, and his first win since the Kings last played the Avalanche, where he made 23 saves in a 3-2 SO win at STAPLES Center.

Dustin Brown played in his 700th career NHL game tonight, recording three shots and an assist in 15:42 of playing time.

Five different players scored for the Kings tonight, and 11 players recorded at least one point.

Now with two straight wins and a 32-22-6 record, which is good for 70 points, the Kings sit at sixth-place in the Western Conference.

The Kings are now off to Calgary, Alberta, where they’ll skate with the Calgary Flames Thursday evening at the Scotiabank Saddledome. You can catch KINGS LIVE at 6:00 on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call at 6:30 PT.
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