Colorado Avalanche start fast and hold on to defeat the Kings 4-2 at the Staples Center on 12/17/07
Jason LaBarbera made his first appearance in eight games since getting injured vs. the Avalanche when Ryan Smith fell on him. It didn’t take long for Smith (Pictured below) to top LaBarbera again but this time it was with an early first period power play goal. Jaroslav Hlinka scored about a minute later and Paul Stastny made it 3-0 to finish the scoring in the first period. It looked as if the Kings were playing in slow motion and they were not on at all. The Kings defense in the first period was terrible as Colorado had many scoring chances and shots on goal. LA was outshot 16-4. The Avs went to a defensive game and there was no scoring in the second period despite 4 penalties total. The Kings were outshot 15-10 in the second and only LaBarbera kept them in the game with some great saves. Their defensemen were getting beat and the passing was not crisp.
However, the Kings mounted a strong comeback in the 3rd period getting a power play goal from Dustin Brown, his 15th to tie Kopitar of the team lead, and Michael Handzus with a shorthanded goal within the first 5 minutes of the period. They almost tied it and stayed close till Ben Guite sealed the victory with an empty net goal and 4-2 win for the visiting Avalanche.
Alexander Frolov was back in the lineup as well but the offense sputtered.
The Kings are in need of a big forward who can play rough while also setting up in front of the net to screen the opposing goalie and make things more difficult. They are using 38-year-old Rob Blake right now, as he is one of their bigger guys. He is valuable as a point man to set up a shot or take a slapshot so a big forward would be ideal. Los Angeles needs to get back on the winning track soon before they fall too far behind the teams they are trying to catch. It is hard to comeback from down 0-3 in this league especially when your team is outshot 40-21 for the game. Their big players need to step it up and the role players will be a key. The defense has to improve so opposing teams don’t get so many good shots.
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