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Two from Toffoli not enough, Kings fall 3-2

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

Tyler Toffoli continued his monstrous preseason, rattling off another pair of goals Saturday night, but it wasn’t enough for the Kings, as they fell to the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in a shootout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas during Frozen Fury XVI.

Both clubs were held scoreless in the first period, but early into the second, and in a quick three-minute span, Tyler Toffoli gave the Kings a 2-0 lead, beating Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov twice while executing on a pair of wonderful passes from Tanner Pearson.

Pearson delivered a crisp back-door pass, which Toffoli tapped home to give the Kings a 1-0 lead less than two minutes into the second period. Then, just over three minutes later, Pearson returned a pass to Toffoli on a give-and-go sequence, and he promptly snapped the puck high and to the top right corner past Varlamov to give the Kings a 2-0 lead.

Toffoli’s two goals Saturday night gave the Kings’ young forward a total of nine points (4G, 5A) during the preseason. Toffoli not only leads the Kings roster with those offensive numbers, but the entire NHL.

The Avalanche, who have been struggling mightily to score during the preseason, struck to cut the Kings’ lead in half, as Dennis Everberg chipped a puck past Jonathan Quick from just outside the crease.

Everberg’s tally was just Colorado’s ninth goal in their eighth preseason game.

Matt Duchene tied the game for the Avalanche in the third period, as he pounced on a loose puck in the Kings’ slot, and slung a quick wrist-shot high and past Quick to knot the score 2-2 with 14:53 remaining in regulation time.

The Kings advanced to overtime and a shootout for the fifth time in seven preseason contests.

A scoreless overtime period led the teams to a shootout, where the Kings were also unable to find the net. Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, and Jarret Stoll were each unable to beat Semyon Varlamov. Nathan MacKinnon’s goal on Jonathan Quick in the second round was enough to secure the win for Colorado.

With the shootout loss, the Kings finished their preseason with a very respectable 5-0-2 record, not losing a single game in regulation time. The Avalanche, however, were able to snag their first preseason win, finishing with a 1-5-2 record.

The Kings will open up their regular season schedule on Wednesday night against the San Jose Sharks at STAPLES Center. The 2014 Stanley Cup Championship banner will be raised to the rafters. The puck is slated to drop at 7:00PM PT.

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