DENVER (AP)The common theme for the Los Angeles Kings during their five-game winning isn’t hard to figure out – balanced production.
So many are stepping up.
Adrian Kempe and Phillip Danault each scored twice Thursday night as the Kings rolled to a 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
Gabriel Vilardi also added a goal and Anze Kopitar had three assists for the Kings, who remain tied with Vegas for the top spot in the Western Conference. No team in the West has been hotter than the Kings since the All-Star break, going 10-2-1.
Joonas Korpisalo stopped 28 shots.
“Everybody found a way to contribute,” said Kings coach Todd McLellan, who saw 10 different players contribute at least a point. “We played with a high level of pace, which you have to against this team. Outstanding goaltending when we needed it and some timely scoring. So as we leave here, we’re happy with the group as a whole, not just two or three players, but the whole group.”
Evan Rodrigues and Nathan MacKinnon scored for the slumping Avalanche, who are 1-3-1 over their last five games. MacKinnon’s goal extended his home points streak to 15 games.
“Feel like every mistake we made they scored on,” MacKinnon said. “It was a weird game.”
For the Kings, it was a game of answers to keep the Avalanche at bay, starting with Kempe scoring 24 seconds into the third period to make it 3-1. And then, when MacKinnon scored early in the third, Danault responded 15 seconds later to restore the two-goal lead.
Danault also sealed things with an empty-net goal, which was his 100th career score.
“I liked the team game,” Kopitar said. “I don’t think we gave up a whole lot against a really good team.”
Looking out of sorts and trailing 2-0 in the second period, the Avalanche found a spark through a spray of ice. Several Colorado players pushed Kings forward Viktor Arvidsson after he sent a mist of ice at goaltender Alexandar Georgiev following a save. Sean Walker joined in and knocked down Cale Makar to draw a roughing call.
And while the Avalanche didn’t convert on the penalty, the play did provide a boost. Soon after, Rodrigues tipped in a shot to make it 2-1. MacKinnon had a chance to tie it moments later on a breakaway, only to send a wrist shot wide.
“We should’ve approached this like a playoff game tonight,” Makar said. “For us, I think we just have to keep stressing patience.”
There was a concerning moment for the Kings in the second period after forward Kevin Fiala collided with Andrew Cogliano at the blue line. Fiala, who leads the team in scoring, was helped off by a trainer and into the locker room. Fiala returned and assisted on Danault’s goal.
Georgiev finished with 26 saves.
Kopitar’s three assists gives him 56 career points against the Avalanche, which is the second most among active skaters. Blake Wheeler leads the way with 58 points against Colorado.
Asked how high of level Kopitar’s playing at right now, Kempe just laughed.
“He’s been playing at that level for 17 years,” Kempe said. “He shows up every night.”
THIS & THAT
The banged-up Avalanche remain without goaltender Pavel Francouz, forward Darren Helm, captain Gabriel Landeskog and defensemen Erik Johnson, Josh Manson and Kurtis MacDermid. … Kings forward Trevor Moore was activated from injured reserve before the game. He had an assist…. Los Angeles F Quinton Byfield extended his assist streak to five games. … The Kings improved to 2-0 against Colorado this season.
Kings: Start a seven-game homestand Saturday against Nashville.
Avalanche: Finish a stretch of four in a row at home against Arizona on Saturday.
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