DENVER – Anze Kopitar’s first goal helped the Los Angeles Kings get back in the game. His second stood up for the winner.
Kopitar had two goals and an assist, knocking in the decisive score in the final period, and the Kings rallied to beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-4 on Wednesday night.
“Those two quick (goals) at the end of the second were huge and we carried that momentum into the third,” Kopitar said. “It’s nice to start off the third with a power play.”
The Kings had the man advantage when Jeff Carter, in the middle of a scramble in front of the net, swung at a loose puck, sending it straight up in the air. When the puck hit the ice, Kopitar got his stick on it and sent it into the net past Jean-Sebastian Giguere at 3:13 of the third.
Justin Williams added an empty-net goal with 11 seconds left to cap the scoring as both teams returned to action after the Olympic break.
“At the end of the day, we got the two points. It wasn’t the easiest two points, but we’ll take it,” Kopitar said.
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said for the most part, he liked the way his squad competed in the first game back off the break, despite blowing a two-goal lead.
“No one is perfect after two weeks off,” Roy said. “But we’ve been working hard and you don’t want to let a game like this affect you, especially because I think there are a lot of positives. I think we need to come back on Friday (against Phoenix) with the same attitude that we had today.”
Jamie McGinn snapped a 2-2 tie when he scored on the power play at 8:57 of the second period off a centring pass from Ryan O’Reilly, who scored the Avalanche’s first goal earlier. It was McGinn’s 15th goal of the season.
Colorado went up 4-2 later in the second on Andre Benoit’s third goal of the season. He knocked in a rebound on the power play, Colorado’s third score with the man advantage. Nathan MacKinnon helped set up the score with a shot that was stopped by Martin Jones, but the puck trickled out and Benoit punched it with his stick into the net.
The Kings re-tied it at 4 with a pair of goals little more than two minutes apart. Kopitar back-handed a shot into the net at 16:49 and Carter put in an equalizer at 18:53 of the second, redirecting Mike Richards’ shot past Giguere.
“Great play by Kopi, just stick it out there,” Kings defenceman Matt Greene said. “When you get down by two, you’ve got to answer, and we got that pretty quickly.”
Los Angeles opened the scoring on Robyn Regeher’s first-period goal and pulled even at 2-all when Jarret Stoll knocked the puck past Giguere 24 seconds into the second period.
P.A. Parenteau gave the Avs a short-lived 2-1 lead at 16:32 of the first. Matt Duchene sent a pass across the slot and Parenteau slapped it into the right corner of the net before Kings goalie Martin Jones could slide over to block it.
NOTES: Avalanche D Erik Johnson served the first of his two-game suspension for his slash on New York Islanders C Frans Nielsen on Feb. 8. Nielsen was placed on injured reserve with a fractured left hand. … Avs C Maxime Talbot was a late scratch, leaving the team to be with his fiancee after she went into labour. … Avs D Andre Benoit is one shy of his 100th career NHL game. … The Kings’ Dustin Brown played in his 700th NHL game. … C Jordan Nolan of the Kings was shaken up when he lost his balance and barrelled into the boards early in the second period. A trainer assisted him off the ice and he was taken to the locker room for treatment. … The Kings allowed more than three goals in a game for only the 10th time in 60 games this season.