Jeff Carter scored twice and Jonathan Quick stopped 42 shots, helping the Los Angeles Kings extend their winning streak to six games with a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.
Tyler Toffoli and Dustin Brown also scored for the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings, who are firmly back on track and in playoff contention after scuffling a few weeks ago.
Gabriel Landeskog added a goal for the Avalanche as they dropped what coach Patrick Roy said after the morning practice was a "big game for us." Colorado wrapped up a four-game homestand with a 2-2 record and lost more ground in the standings.
Trailing by two goals, Colorado pulled Semyon Varlamov for an extra skater with just under three minutes remaining. But Alex Tanguay drew a penalty with 1:39 remaining to negate the advantage. Varlamov stayed on the bench, leading to Carter’s empty-net goal with 52.3 seconds left.
Quick helped the Kings weather back-to-back penalties midway through the third period, the first on Nick Shore for hooking and, just as that was about to expire, another on Robyn Regehr for boarding. The Avalanche are last in the league at home on the power play.
Varlamov made 21 saves in his 14th straight start. He’s 6-6-2 during that stretch.
The Kings were buried in the standings in late January after hitting a rough patch. Defenseman Drew Doughty said the team wasn’t in panic mode because, "we weren’t playing even close to our capability. We’re seeing what we can do when everyone starts to perform."
Los Angeles has outscored teams 23-12 during its six-game winning streak.
Down a goal early in the second, Carter deflected a shot by Toffoli from near the blue line past Varlamov. Just over five minutes later, Toffoli gave the Kings a 2-1 lead when he skated in on Varlamov and stuffed the puck past the goaltender’s right pad.
But the Kings weren’t done, with Brown adding an insurance goal late in the second period off a feed from Doughty from behind the net. It was one of two assists Doughty had in the period.
Landeskog gave the Avalanche the early lead when he found a tiny hole between the right post and Quick’s stick 3:09 into the first period. The captain now has a goal in four straight games.
NOTES: Growing up in Denver, Shore was a big Avalanche fan and attended quite a few games. He also played college hockey down the street at the University of Denver. "It’s nice being back," Shore said. "You don’t really get to play in front of family and friends very often." Shore made his NHL debut on Jan. 17. He’s still searching for his first NHL goal. … Los Angeles D Alec Martinez missed a fifth straight game with an upper body injury. … The Kings are 22-4-4 when allowing two goals or less this season. … The Avalanche play in Chicago on Friday.