LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche power play have found another gear during the past week.
The Avalanche scored three goals with the man advantage for the second time in four games and dominated the Los Angeles Kings 7-3 on Wednesday night.
“One of those things that when the power play works, when it’s clicking like that, it feels good and obviously can win you games, which it did tonight,” said Gabriel Landeskog, who was one of nine players who got an assist.
Colorado has gone 8 of 11 on the power play during the four-game span. That has propelled them to the top of the league with a 32.9 percent conversion rate, and the 23 goals are tied with Tampa Bay.
“The execution has been there,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “Our guys are hungry to score on the power play. We have a lot of talent on both units. They are being crisp with their passes and in tune.”
Los Angeles allowed three power-play goals for the second time in five games and has killed only 11 of 19 penalties over that span.
“It’s pretty much always the same story. We lost the special teams battle, and when you lose that, you don’t win many games,” Kings coach Willie Desjardins said.
MacKinnon scored one of the power-play goals and has scored on special teams in back-to-back games as the Avalanche have won three of four. Vladislav Kamenev and Colin Wilson also scored on the power play, and Patrik Nemeth, Tyson Barrie, Nikita Zadorov and Matt Calvert scored at even strength.
Alexander Kerfoot had three assists, and Mikko Rantanen remained the league’s scoring leader with two assists to increase his total to 34 points. Tyler Jost and Carl Soderbeg both had two assists while MacKinnon and Kamenev had multipoint games.
“It brings a lot of confidence when you score that many goals. We just dominated pretty much the whole game,” said Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who made 33 saves.
Kyle Clifford scored for Los Angeles while Matt Luff and Austin Wagner each had a goal and an assist. Cal Petersen allowed six goals on 31 shots before leaving early in the third and Peter Budaj allowed one goal on three shots.
“I don’t know what to say what happened,” Kings captain Anze Kopitar said. “I mean there’s no emotion, no energy, you know nothing and it’s unacceptable.”
Kamenev and Clifford exchanged first-period goals, and the Avalanche retook the lead 50 seconds after Clifford’s equalizer. Landeskog fed MacKinnon with a pinpoint pass from behind the net seconds into a power play, the first of six straight goals for Colorado.
Nemeth extended the lead with a 57-foot wrist shot, Wilson netted his power-play goal, and Barrie and Zadorov chased Peterson with goals less than two minutes apart in the third. Calvert redirected Barrie’s pass past Budaj before Luff scored on a one-timer and Wagner got his first NHL goal.
NOTES: Barrie has six-game point streak. … Los Angeles C Adrian Kempe suffered a lower-body injury during the first period and did not return. … D Dion Phaneuf, who played in his 1,000th NHL game on Monday night in St. Louis, was honored before the game. … Rantanen has been fined $2,000 by the NHL for diving/embellishment. It is the second time Rantanen has been cited for embellishment this season, which is what triggered the fine. The embellishment penalty happened during the second period of a Nov. 14 game against Boston. … Los Angeles acquired forward Pavel Jenys from Minnesota in exchange for defenseman Stephan Falkovsky. Both players are currently in the ECHL … The Kings honored Ventura County Sheriff’s Sergeant Ron Helus during the game. Helus was one of 12 who lost his life on Nov. 7 during a mass shooting at a Thousand Oaks country music bar.
Avalanche: Travel to Arizona on Friday to complete a three-game road trip.
Kings: Host Vancouver on Friday.
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