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Semyon Varlamov's 31 saves help Avalanche beat Kings 2-1 in shootout

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov and the rest of the Avalanche are enjoying the same kind of success in shootouts that Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and centre Jarret Stoll experienced last season.

Ryan O'Reilly scored the tying goal with 5:43 left in the third period, Milan Hejduk got the only goal in the tiebreaker and Varlamov made four of his 31 saves in overtime to lead the surging Avalanche to a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.

It was Colorado's eighth win in nine games.

The Avalanche are 7-0 in shootouts, with Varlamov in goal for all but one of them. They have won their past 10 tiebreakers, one shy of the NHL record for consecutive shootout wins set by the Dallas Stars during the 2005-06 season. Overall, Colorado has lost only once in its last 19 shootouts.

"We have some confidence in shootouts," coach Joe Sacco said. "We have some guys who really know what to do with the puck. And when you feel good about yourself and those situations, you can build that confidence. You need goaltending in this league, and we have certainly got our fair share. Varly was solid all night long."

Quick is 3-4 in shootouts after going 10-0 last season. Stoll has failed on four of his six shootout attempts after going 9 for 10 in 2010-11.

"We had a tough start. They were all over us, but we came back," Hejduk said. "It was a hard battle to the end. I felt like in the second and third periods we started rolling our lines better. We spent more time in their zone creating some scoring chances there and finally put one in."

Quick, trying for his NHL-leading sixth shutout, stopped Colorado's first 19 shots before O'Reilly carried the puck into the Kings' zone off a turnover by Kyle Clifford and scored on a 30-foot wrist shot that beat Quick to the stick side.

"We're just trying to battle and get everybody to play hard," said Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter, who is 4-0-3 since taking over for Terry Murray. "On the tying goal, Cliffy makes a mistake along the wall. It's one of those things where you're just trying to get him to do it right, over and over and over. You just learn from it."

Hejduk, who ended a 13-game goal drought with a pair on Saturday night in a 4-2 win at Anaheim, connected on Colorado's first attempt against Quick in the shootout. Varlamov thwarted Stoll, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, who had the Kings' only goal in regulation.

"The goalies were on their game tonight," Kopitar said. "We had a few good shifts and had some scoring chances, but we just couldn't bury them and it came back to bite us. We had a bunch of 2-on-1s. I had a chance in overtime and I don't know why I didn't shoot it, but I should have put it on net. Maybe something could have happened."

The Kings found themselves on a power play just 20 seconds after the opening faceoff, as O'Reilly received a four-minute high-sticking penalty for cutting defenceman Jack Johnson. But Mike Richards got an interference penalty just 7 seconds later, and Los Angeles had a power-play goal disallowed with 44 seconds left on O'Reilly's double-minor.

Justin Williams had his stick above the crossbar when he redirected Johnson's long, off-balance wrist shot between Varlamov's legs on a bounce, and referee Stephen Walkom waved it off immediately. Video replays viewed by league officials in Toronto upheld the decision.

The Kings opened the scoring at 1:34 of the second period. Richards passed the puck around the boards to Kopitar behind the net, and he made a backhand wraparound attempt that hit Varlamov's stick as it was flat on the ice. Brown was right there to convert the rebound with a backhander for his 10th goal.

The Avalanche had only one power-play opportunity the entire game, after Clifford was sent off for kneeing former Kings defenceman Kyle Quincey with 11:12 left in the third period. It was the third time in four games that the Avs had the man advantage fewer than three times.

Notes: Kings broadcaster Daryl Evans, whose overtime goal in the "Miracle on Manchester" playoff game against Edmonton in 1982 is still regarded as the most significant moment in franchise history, was the latest Kings alumnus to be honoured with a pre-game ceremony in the team's "Legends Night" series. Charlie Simmer, one-third of the famed "Triple Crown Line" with Marcel Dionne and Dave Taylor, will get the same treatment on Feb. 18. ... The Avalanche are 18-2-0 when allowing fewer than three goals, and 4-15-0 when scoring fewer than three. ... C Matt Duchene, who had the game-winning goal for the Avalanche against the Kings in a 3-2 win on Oct. 30 in Denver, missed his second game because of an injured left knee that is expected to keep him sidelined for at least a month. ... It was the 17th time in 19 games that the Kings scored fewer than three goals in regulation.


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