Avalanche lose to Kings, fail to move into tie for first in Central
MacKinnon leaves with injury for Colorado, which remains two points out of division leadby Dan Greenspan / NHL.com Independent Correspondent
LOS ANGELES -- The Colorado Avalanche failed to move into a tie for first place in the Central Division, losing 3-1 to the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Monday.
Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon left the game at 15:00 of the second period with a lower-body injury. Coach Jared Bednar told Altitude Sports Radio on Tuesday that MacKinnon's injury may not be that serious and he will be reevaluated when the Avalanche return to Denver.
"That's what we're hoping for," Bednar said. "But [he has to] get checked out and obviously, we have to see what he feels like here today."
[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Kings highlights]
Mikey Anderson scored his first NHL goal for the Kings (28-35-6), who extended their season-high winning streak to six games. Jonathan Quick made 21 saves, including on a penalty shot by Valeri Nichushkin at 13:15 of the second period.
Los Angeles has won five straight at home.
"I'm not sure what the room was like when I wasn't here, but it's a lot more fun to win," Anderson said. "You kind of hear that from all the guys right now, and obviously winning is going to bring better vibes for the group. This little run of games now has been pretty fun, and we've got to try to keep it going."
Pavel Francouz made 32 saves for Colorado (41-20-8), which trails the St. Louis Blues by two points for first in the division. The Blues lost 2-1 to the Florida Panthers.
It was the Avalanche's second loss in regulation in their past 12 games (8-2-2).
"We were expecting a tough game," Francouz said. "They played great defense, and they were really dangerous in the offensive zone too. So good for this team that, even when they didn't start the season well, they came back and they're playing very hard."
Video: COL@LAK: Wagner buries rebound at the side of the net
The Kings took a 1-0 lead when Austin Wagner scored with a sharp-angled shot into an open net at 14:22 of the first period. Francouz saved Nikolai Prokhorkin's initial shot, but the rebound took an awkward bounce to Wagner after it hit MacKinnon.
Anderson made it 2-0 at 15:25 of the first period when his shot from the right point was deflected in by defenseman Kevin Connauton. It was Anderson's first NHL point in his fifth game.
"Even though it wasn't the highlight reel he wanted, it was still a goal, and a goal is a goal," Wagner said. "They don't ask how, they ask how many, so we're all happy for him, and hopefully he can keep going."
The Avalanche, who were coming off a 4-3 win at the San Jose Sharks on Sunday, were outshot 11-4 in the first period.
"I thought we looked mentally tired," captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "I thought we were sloppy, especially in the first. … I liked the way we battled and I liked that we battled all the way to the end."
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare cut it to 2-1 at 2:19 of the third period when his wrist shot from the right point bounced over Quick's glove.
"They deserved those goals in the beginning, even if it was a lucky bounce. They worked for it," Bellemare said. "Then I feel like we could have packed it in and felt sorry for ourselves, but we battled all the way to the end."
Alex Iafallo put the Kings up 3-1 with a backhand on a breakaway at 14:35. He has six points (two goals, four assists) in the past five games.
Video: COL@LAK: Iafallo dekes, roofs top-shelf backhander
They said it
"It's a tough way to start because they came after us hard, obviously knowing that we played last night, and they worked. They worked extremely hard on the forecheck, they turned over a lot of pucks, and we just didn't look crisp and sharp, so we dug ourselves a hole." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar on the first period
"To see somebody score their first, there's a lot of joy in that. It's contagious throughout the whole bench. I think everybody on our team now, if I'm correct, has a goal. And there'll be more to come as more kids enter the lineup, but it's a really exciting moment when that happens for the team as well as the individual." -- Kings coach Todd McLellan on Mikey Anderson's first NHL goal
Need to know
MacKinnon leads the Avalanche and is tied for fourth in the NHL with 93 points (35 goals, 58 assists). ... Drew Doughty had an assist on Iafallo's goal to tie Butch Goring for seventh in Kings history (284). ... Quick is 5-0-1 with a 1.29 goals-against average and .957 save percentage in his past six starts. ... Landeskog had his point streak end at eight games (five goals, eight assists). ... Kings center Gabriel Vilardi had an assist on Anderson's goal and has five points (two goals, three assists) in nine NHL games. ... Los Angeles went 2-0-1 against Colorado this season.
Avalanche: Host the New York Rangers on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ALT, MSG+, NHL.TV)
Kings: Host the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-W, TSN5, RDS, NHL.TV)