LOS ANGELES (AP) The Los Angeles Kings are finally playing fast. After looking sluggish in their first three games, Tyler Toffoli showed off that speed to give the Kings a second straight home win.
Toffoli scored on a breakaway late in the second period, and the Los Angeles Kings beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Sunday night.
Marian Gaborik also scored, Jonathan Quick made 21 saves, and the Kings beat the Avalanche for the sixth straight time and improved to 8-0-1 in their last nine meetings.
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Just 23 seconds after Matt Duchene tied the score at 1-1 on the Avs’ potent power play, Toffoli intercepted Erik Johnson’s pass and raced down the ice to beat Reto Berra over his glove hand and regain the lead.
”I just took a peek to see where (Francois) Beauchemin was to see what kind of move I could make, and I made the right one,” Toffoli said.
Berra, coming off a 35-save shutout at Anaheim on Friday night, finished with 38 saves against the Kings.
The Avalanche came into the game with the league’s best power play, scoring on five of 12 chances through their first four games. Carl Soderberg found a wide-open Duchene streaking towards a gaping net to take advantage of poor awareness by Quick, Drew Doughty and Brayden McNabb.
”Really nice play by Carl, and it got us back in the game,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. ”But at the same time, we have to play a whole game.”
The Avs could not capitalize on 49 seconds of a 5-on-3 midway through the third period after Nick Shore and Doughty were sent to the penalty box. Jake Muzzin and McNabb each blocked shots with their legs to kill off Shore’s initial hooking penalty, and Gabriel Landeskog was called for hooking to erase the final 1:10 of the power play.
”When there is that many penalties we got to be good,” McNabb said.
Muzzin spent several seconds hunched over in pain, but said it was just a stinger.
”Luckily my knee brace blocked it for me a little bit,” Muzzin said.
Gaborik put the Kings ahead with 6:22 left in the first period with his first goal of the season. Gaborik initially missed a good look from the slot, but Anze Kopitar got the loose puck after it sailed wide of the net. Dustin Brown eventually found Gaborik free between the circles, beating Berra to the stick side with a wrist shot.
Berra had not allowed a goal in 203:02 dating back to last season.
The Kings had several chances to put their defensemen to use in the offensive zone as the Avalanche were sloppy with the possession. Gaborik’s goal started with a coast-to-coast push up the ice by Doughty, and McNabb had an assist on the play.
”I just think we’re playing a lot faster,” Toffoli said. ”We’re playing a lot faster in our own zone, using our speed breaking out and coming through the neutral zone, and finishing our plays.”
Jordan Nolan electrified the crowd by landing several authoritative blows on Jack Skille during a one-sided fight early in the second period. As referees were sorting things out, forwards Andy Andreoff and Cody McLeod came to blows and each received game misconduct penalties.
NOTES: Avalanche D Tyson Barrie served the first game of a three-game suspension for a high hit that injured Ducks D Simon Despres on Friday night. Barrie will be eligible to return for the Oct. 27 road game against Florida. … Kings D Matt Greene missed his second consecutive game due to an upper body injury he suffered in the preseason.