The Colorado Avalanche got to show off their penalty killing skills a lot earlier than they would've liked to tonight. Just 20 seconds into the game Ryan O'Reilly was assessed a double minor for high-sticking. Fortunately for the Avs, Mike Richards was called for interference just 7 seven seconds into O'Reilly's penalty. There was a brief scare as Justin Williams deflected the puck past Seymon Varlamov, but referee Brian Pochmara deemed it was deflected by a high stick. The play was reviewed by the Situation Room in Toronto and the call on the ice stood.
There was a point where the Kings had nearly 6 minutes of continuous play in the Avs' defensive zone. The Kings had a few quality scoring chances that Varlamov was able to make some big saves on. As the first period came to a close the Avs were able to string together a couple of solid shifts and gain some momentum heading into the first intermission despite being outshot 12-5 by the Kings.
The second period didn't get started the way the Avs would've liked. The Kings top line was able to catch the Avs' defense flat footed in front of Varlamov and Dustin Brown tucked the puck thru Varly's legs. It was Brown's 10th goal of the season with Antze Kopitar and Mike Richards getting the assists.
With just under 6 minutes to go in the second period, TJ Galiardi was called for roughing during a skirmish near the Kings bench. Not entirely sure how he was the only one to come away with a penalty. Nevertheless the Kings were going back on the power play. Now there's a million hockey cliches out there, and one of them is the one about your goalie having to be your best penalty killer. Tonight he was. He came up huge for the Avs as he made several key saves including a full split save to deny Jack Johnson on what looked to be a slam dunk. The Avs would head into the second intermission down 1-0.
With just over 11 minutes to play in the third period, Kings forward Kyle Clifford took a rare kneeing penalty as he left his right knee out and took out Kyle Quincey's leg. Fortunately Quincey didn't have any weight on his right knee otherwise that could've been disastrous. It would be the Avs' first power play chance of the evening. They never really got any sustained pressure during the power play.
With just under 6 minutes to play, Ryan O'Reilly tied the game with his 10th goal of the season, Kyle Quincey earned the lone assist on the goal. I continue to be amazed by the play of Ryan O'Reilly game in and game out, night after night. Then I become even more impressed (if that's even possible at this point) when I remember that he is still only 20 years old. I've said it before, and I will say it again, if the Avs can somehow keep this young core of players together, this team will be scary good in about 2 to 3 years.
WIth just over 2 and a half minutes to play, Stefan Elliott was called for hooking Drew Doughty as he tried to cut to the Avs' net. Fortunately for Avs' fans, Doughty felt it necessary to try and sell it a little too much and was given a 2 minute minor for diving. I, for one, am extremely happy that the refs are starting to make these calls. There's no room in hockey for it, this isn't soccer.
WIth just over a minute and a half to play in the overtime period, Kyle Quincey was whistled for high sticking Jarret Stoll as he was trying to clear him out from in front of Varlamov. Fortunately for the Avs' Varly was again the best Avs' penalty killer as he came up with a couple of great saves during the Kings' 4 on 3 power play during the OT period.
Milan Hejduk would score the only goal in the shootout and Varly would stop all 3 shooters the Kings' would send his way.
MHH Avalanche 3 Stars of the Night
- 1 Semyon Varlamov, 31 saves, including all 3 Kings' shooters in the shootout.
- 2 Ryan O'Reilly, Scored the Avs only goal during regulation in the 3rd period.
- 3 Milan Hejduk, Scored the winning goal in the shootout.
- 1 Landeskog-O'Reilly-Hejduk
- 2 Winnik-Stastny-Galiardi
- 3 Jones-McClement-Kobasew
- 4 McLeod-Porter-Van der Gulik
- 1 Johnson-O'Brein
- 2 Hejda-O'Byrne
- 3 Elliott-Quincey
- 1 Tonight was David Jones' 200th career game in the NHL.
- 2 With Ryan O'Reilly's third period goal, the Avs' now have 34 goals scored by players not old enough to drink in the United States.
- 3 First time the Avs went to Southern California and beat both the Kings and Ducks in the same road trip.
NHL.com Recap & Highlights
Colorado packs up their board shorts, sun tan lotion, sunglasses and break out their parkas and toques as they head to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Blackhawks Friday night.