They took a 3-1 lead very early in the third period but it wasn’t enough as the Los Angeles Kings fell to the Colorado Avalanche in overtime by a score of 4-3. With the loss, the Kings drop to 1-2-1 in the preseason. But like every game before the real season starts, it’s a learning curve for the silver-and-black regardless of the outcome.
Los Angeles, however, got off to a shaky start as they allowed the first goal of the game just 26 seconds into the opening frame. But with every negative comes a positive and just 25 seconds later, the Kings showed their resilience by tying the game thanks to a power play tally from Justin Williams. Slava Voynov recorded the assist.
Just over two minutes, it was the hometown boy, Nick Shore, giving the Kings their first lead of the night.
Born, raised and playing collegiate hockey in Denver, Nick Shore had an abundance of family and friends at the Pepsi Center to cheer him on. The 83rd overall selection in the 2011 Draft, Shore scored with assists going to Williams and Dwight King. In fact, the youngster’s efforts earned him the game’s third star.
After a scoreless second period, the Kings wasted no time padding their lead in the third as Dwight King scored a power-play marker to put the road team up by a pair. Voynov and Shore collected the assists.
Just under three minutes later, though, Colorado’s Steve Downie scored a power-play tally of his own to pull the Avs to within a goal.
Then at the 9:07 of the third, Ryan O’Reilly tied the game before scoring again in overtime (while shorthanded) to give Colorado the win.
Like the rest of their games this preseason, the Kings were involved in a chippy affair against the Avalanche as a total of 15 penalties were given out over the course of the night with four of the seven goals coming from the special teams.
In goal for Los Angeles, Ben Scrivens and recently re-signed Martin Jones shared the duties.
While Scrivens rebounded nicely after his goal against in the opening 26 seconds, he stopped all of the next 15 shots he faced spanning over two periods. Jones, on the other hand, struggled. Despite facing just 11 shots in the third period and change he played, the backstop allowed three goals, paving the way to Colorado’s victory.
Lost in the shuffle was the return of defenseman Willie Mitchell who hadn’t played since Game 6 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final.
As significant a boost as his presence is, not much was expected from Mitchell as he was simply getting back into the swing of things. While he wasn’t great out there, the veteran blueliner wasn’t terrible either. Mitchell was a -1 with one shot, two takeaways and lead his team in ice time with 23:16. Overall, not a bad return but considering how much time he’s missed, fans are quick to cut Willie Mitchell a fair deal of slack.
Despite the loss, the Kings can hold their heads high with great efforts from four of their players who had multi-point games. While it is generally expected that Justin Williams and Slava Voynov have productive outings, it is especially rewarding when the same can be said for Dwight King, who struggled last season, and Nick Shore who is simply trying to earn a spot with the big club in the next couple of weeks. Certainly playing in his hometown didn’t hurt.
It’s a loss, yes, but something the Los Angeles Kings can build on as they further prepare for the start of the regular season.
The Kings now have a few days off before their next preseason tilt when they host the always-popular Anaheim Ducks. As for the Avalanche, the Kings will meet them once more this preseason as they will square off next Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for one final preseason tune-up.