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game recap

Kings defeat Avalanche, end losing streak

Peter Budaj makes 24 saves to help Los Angeles stop three-game skid

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- Peter Budaj made 24 saves to help the Los Angeles Kings to a 2-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Tuesday.

Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter got his 215th win to tie Andy Murray for most in Kings history. He coached his 1,262nd NHL game to tie Jacques Lemaire for 13th place on the all-time list.

"Had some good teams, good players," Sutter said.

 

WATCH: All Kings vs. Avalanche highlights

 

Tyler Toffoli and Trevor Lewis scored in the second period for Los Angeles (29-26-4), which had lost three consecutive games and five of six. The Kings are two points behind the Calgary Flames for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

"The standings are tight and we need every point we can get," Budaj said. "It's a big win for us."

Budaj acknowledged having some good fortune with the goal posts.

"Oh yeah, four or five times, and pretty heavy," he said. "I think (Gabriel) Landeskog hit one, (John) Mitchell had one, (Tyson) Barrie had one in the third. Sometimes you need that luck. Thank God they didn't go in."

Said Landeskog, "I hit one crossbar and one post and had one yawning cage where it just hopped over my stick. We just weren't sharp enough around the net and it ended up costing us."

Mikko Rantanen scored for Colorado (16-39-3), which is 7-20-2 at home. Calvin Pickard made 30 saves.

Video: LAK@COL: Toffoli buries Doughty's backhand dish

Toffoli went to the net to convert Drew Doughty's centering pass at 3:18 of the second period to tie the game 1-1. He shot the puck off Pickard's left shoulder and off the post for his 10th goal.

Lewis made it 2-1 at 9:32. He skated down left wing with a step on defenseman Tyson Barrie and shot by Pickard's left skate for his eighth goal and first in 10 games.

Rantanen gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead 32 seconds into the second period. He stole the puck from Doughty at the Kings blue line and scored on a breakaway for his 14th goal.

"It shows how good a player Drew is," Sutter said. "He makes a mistake on their goal and comes back and evens it up two shifts later. Tells you how good he is, how passionate he is. He really makes a good play on that second goal."

Budaj credited his teammates for helping him overcome the Rantanen goal. The Kings killed all three of their penalties.

"We just bounced back," he said. "The guys played very well after we got the lead. Our penalty kill was very strong. The Avalanche have a very skilled power play. It always helps a lot when the players block shots in front of you. We had at least six to 10 blocked shots on their power play."

 

Goal of the game

Rantanen put a forehand shot high over Budaj's left shoulder on his breakaway.

Video: LAK@COL: Rantanen steals puck, scores on breakaway

 

Save of the game

Budaj dived to make a stick stop against Andreas Martinsen at 2:08 of the third period to preserve the Kings' 2-1 lead.

Video: LAK@COL: Budaj makes a sprawling save on Martinsen

 

Highlight of the game

Kings forward Tanner Pearson forced a turnover and banked the puck off the boards to set up Lewis' tie-breaking goal.

Video: LAK@COL: Lewis shows off his speed on nifty goal

 

Unsung performance of the game

Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin played 3:26 shorthanded and helped kill all three Avalanche power plays.

 

They said it

"We need to win some games and get a streak going so we can get into the playoffs so we can be comfortable and not be waiting until the last game of the season. It was a big game for us." -- Kings forward Tyler Toffoli

 

"It's a fun challenge for us to try and play a spoiler role. At the same time, we're trying to polish up our game and our systems going into next year because that's really what we're preparing for, making sure we're bettering ourselves for next year." -- Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog

 

"You want to win, but I can't get frustrated. I just have to do my job and limit my mistakes." -- Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard

 

Need to know

Rantanen has a goal in three consecutive games and 11 points (eight goals, three assists) in the past 13 games. ... Kings forward Adrian Kempe played his fourth NHL game and had his first point, the secondary assist on Toffoli's goal. ... The Kings are 17-1-1 when they lead after two periods.

 

What's next

Kings: Host the Boston Bruins on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET; SN, FS-W, NESN, NHL.TV)

Avalanche: At the Nashville Predators on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; SN360, SNP, FS-TN, ALT2, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Budaj makes 24 saves to lead Kings past Avs, 2-1

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