The game started off fast and physical, just what you'd expect out of a match up between the Avalanche and the Kings. Despite what was a much more attentive and energetic team than we saw in Phoenix, the Kings were buzzing all over the Avs like hornets around their nest.
Jan Hejda was called for interference early in the first, but the penalty kill unit was stellar and didn't give LA much to look at. The kill gave the Avs a bit more composure, and for the remainder of the first frame, the game was a blur of skating, passing, shots, hitting and all sorts of illegal moves on both sides that were ignored by the refs. Talk about a playoff atmosphere. The only time either team slowed down was when the whistle blew the play dead.
With just under two minutes left in the period, the Kings got their best look at a goal when Kyle Clifford sent a pass right in front of Tyler Tofoli who was hanging in the crease. Tofoli smacked at the puck, trying to shove it under Semyon Varlamov, but Varly stayed squared and used his crazy fast reflexes to deny him.
To close out the period, the Avs went on the penalty kill again as PA Parenteau was called for tripping. The PK unit and Varly kept the Kings contained, however, and the teams went to the locker rooms without any goals on either side.
The second period started with the Avs on the PK for 50 more seconds. But, like before, the Kings were not given much room to be a threat.
Play had settled down in comparison to the first, with both teams taking more time with the puck. The hits and checks didn't let up, though. Neither did the offensive pressure.
Robyn Regehr, in an attempt to contain Patrick Bordeleau of all people, put the Avalanche on their first power play of the evening. The Avs set up early and maintained control for most of the first half of the man advantage. Dustin Brown limped off after blocking a slapper from the point. He would return shortly thereafter. The remainder of the power play didn't produce much, but immediately following, the Avs saw some of their best looks on net of the game thus far.
While the first was characterized by the Kings swarming, the second was Colorado's turn to buzz with even guys like Bordy getting shots on net. Hejda got off an awesome slap shot, but LA goaltender Ben Scrivens was able to find the bouncing puck and keep it out of the net. The next hot shot was a spinorama pass by Cody McLeod to Max Talbot right in the crease. Again, Scrivens was up to the task though.
That led to some back and forth offensive rushes that required both goalies to be at the top of their game. Just when the Avs had the Kings on their heels, John Mitchell was sent to the box for four minutes on a double minor high sticking call, forcing his team to close out the period a man down once again. Once again, though, the PK units were solid, and the second ended still knotted at zero. Impressively, though, the Avalanche outshot the Kings 21-14, and unlike previous games, Colorado was also leading in face off wins.
The third period started with three minutes left on the Kings power play, but the song was on repeat as the Kings still couldn't muster much of a threat against the Avalanche penalty killing units. For the second time of the night, Varly's mask went flying. This time, however, it was intentional as Brad Richards had to get a shot in after the Avs' goaltender got some shoves in on the Kings' forward during the recently killed power play.
With 7 minutes to go in the third, Willie Mitchell got his stick up in Talbot's face and sat for two as the Avalanche went on their second power play of the night. The Avs got a ridiculous number of amazing shots on net, but Scrivens just could not be solved. Quick...Bernier...now Scrivens? There's something in that LA water. The power play ran out, and the score remained at naught because of goaltending.
In a push up the ice with Ryan O'Reilly and Nate MacKinnon looking dangerous, Gabe Landeskog was hauled down as he was driving towards the net, putting the Avs back on the power play. The Kings did a fantastic job of interrupting any rhythm the Avs got going, though, easily killing that one off. The third ended the same way it began: tied at zero.
We went into overtime with the Avalanche leading in shots still. That's not to say the Kings were being dominated in any way, but it ended up being the Avs that came out on top. Anze Kopitar fanned on a pass in the Avs' zone, and Mitchell picked up the puck and carried it into the Kings' zone. After a tick-tack-toe with Hejda, Mitchell sent a soft pass to Jamie McGuinn, who sent a wrister on net. Scrivens made the first save, but the rebound bounced off a sliding Jarrett Stoll, who pushed the puck into his own net. Avs win, 1-0.
MHH's Three Stars of the Night
- Jamie McGinn: game winner and six hits
- Semyon Varlamov: 19-shot shut out
- Paul Stastny - six shots on net, 21:01 TOI, and 64% at the dot
- Max Talbot won 7 of 8 face offs
- Avs and Kings combined for 74 hits
- The Avs outshot the Kings 33 to 19
The boys return home for a rematch against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday at 7 pm.