Game 37; 25-8-4
LOS ANGELES – They had a strong start but surrendered a two-goal lead as they were forced to settle things in the shootout. But as the old adage goes, it’s not how you start but how you finish and the Los Angeles Kings finished strong, defeating the Colorado Avalanche by a 3-2 score in the shootout. Just as importantly, goaltender Martin Jones tied an NHL record starting his career at 8-0-0 with the victory.
Hoping to avenge their overtime loss to the Avs last month, the Kings got off to the start they were hoping for.
Scoreless in the dying seconds of the first, Los Angeles struck as the duo of Jeff Carter and Dwight King continued their torrid pace with No. 77 tying for the team lead in goals with his 11th with just 32 seconds remaining in the frame. While King didn’t get an assist on the play, Carter was helped out by Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar who picked up the helpers.
At 5:25 of the second, Justin Williams restored his team lead in goals by batting his 12th out of mid-air past Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov to put Los Angeles up by a pair. Jarret Stoll and Dustin Brown picked up the assists.
After a Mike Richards shot hit both posts and out, the Avs were caught with a lucky break – and they capitalized as Erik Johnson pulled the road team to within a goal before the second was done.
In the third, Ryan O’Reilly scored for Colorado to tie the game but when they tried to take the lead, Los Angeles’s rookie netminder stood tall sending the game to overtime.
After nothing was settled in the extra frame, the Kings and Avs went to a shootout.
After both goalies stopped their first shots, Anze Kopitar made no mistake on Varlamov to put the Kings up – and that was all the scoring needed as Martin Jones stopped all three shots (the last one on Ryan O’Reilly) in the session to clinch the Kings’ third-straight win.
While Varlamov was the busier of the two netminders making 37 saves, Jones was good when he had to be turning away 22 shots, surviving a late scare by the Avalanche.
Overall, a stand-up, resilient effort by the Kings to earn the two points.
As previously mentioned, Jones is now 8-0-0 to start his NHL career which ties the record set by Philadelphia’s Bob Froese during the 1982-83 season. Jones will look to break that record on Monday night when the Kings wrap up their homestand against the Dallas Stars in their final game before the Christmas break.