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Avalanche @ Kings Recap: Jones Moves to Eight for Eight, LA Wins 3-2

It wasn’t the usual dominant performance we’re used to from Martin Jones, but it got the Kings to a shootout. Once there, he was as perfect as ever, and it got him a share of an NHL record. Jones moved to 8-0 to start his career, tying the NHL record, and the Los Angeles Kings topped the Colorado Avalanche 3-2.

[Box Score]

The first period was kind of sloppy, featuring tons of turnovers by the Kings and only slightly fewer by the Avalanche. Fortunately for LA, their giveaways didn’t result in any goals for the Avalanche, though Ryan O’Reilly came close on a high shot which Jones got his shoulder on. (That shot was preceded by an exasperated Bob Miller exclaiming, “The Kings give it away AGAIN!”) LA had a couple of isolated chances themselves, but they didn’t really get things going until there were about three minutes left in the period. Those three minutes, however, were relentless, and they resulted in the first goal of the game.

First, Anze Kopitar deked Cory Sarich into oblivion, but his attempted pass to Justin Williams in the slot didn’t connect. then, Williams brought the puck all the way around the net and his shot set up Dustin Brown for a rebound; nothing doing. The Dwight King-Anze Kopitar-Jeff Carter line came back on the ice soon after, and they were able to close out the period with a goal. Kopitar fed Doughty, whose long shot was stopped but caused a bit of chaos in front. King and Carter were both in the middle of it, but it was Carter who was able to reach out and knock it in. 1-0 after 1.

The second goal came five minutes into the second period, and big points for creativity. Jarret Stoll’s long shot was stopped by the glove of Semyon Varlamov, but curiously, Varlamov juggled the puck upon making the save and reached up with his glove. The puck was maybe two inches above the goaltender’s glove, but before he could snag it, Justin Williams reached out and batted it out of mid-air into the net. The Kings were feeling good, and they nearly added to their lead on an ensuing power play. Mike Richards made a deft tip on a point shot which was saved, and his rebound hit off the inside of the post, momentarily confusing the whole Staples Center into thinking LA now had a 3-0 lead.

Los Angeles had another good-looking power play go for naught soon after, and though Martin Jones held out for a while, the Avalanche special teams brought them back on level terms with the Kings. First, Matt Duchene brought out a stunning spin move on Jake Muzzin in the corner and set up Erik Johnson at the circle on the other side. Jones tried to get over to cover the post, but he was too late and Johnson placed his wrist shot perfectly. Ryan O’Reilly got Colorado’s second power play goal, also moving out of the corner, also with Matt Duchene prominently involved. Duchene and O’Reilly exchanged the puck around Robyn Regehr a couple times, and O’Reilly had plenty of room to stickhandle and tuck a shot just underneath the arm of Jones.

The Kings certainly had their chances to score in the third period. After a delayed penalty, Colin Fraser got a terrific look at a rebound of Matt Greene’s shot, but Varlamov somehow got his glove on it. Dustin Brown came from behind the net to test Varlamov, but the shot was kicked away. With two minutes to go, Dwight King threw a great pass to the slot with Carter driving, but a superb pad save ensured that the game would go to overtime.

LA was unlucky not to get a power play early in overtime after Paul Stastny interfered with Jake Muzzin along the boards, and Brown and Gabriel Landeskog were similarly fortunate to avoid being penalized after a neutral-zone collision and retaliation. Apart from that, not a lot of action, and the game went to the shootout. There, Anze Kopitar cleanly beat Semyon Varlamov, and Jones stopped all three Colorado shots to earn a share of history.

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