The common theme for the Kings during their five-game victory isn’t hard to understand: balanced production.
Many are stepping up.
Adrian Kempe and Phillip Danault each scored twice as the Kings posted a 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
Gabriel Vilardi also added a goal and Anze Kopitar had three assists for the Kings, who remain tied with Las Vegas for first place in the Western Conference. No team in the West has been hotter than the Kings since the All-Star break, going 10-2-1.
Joonas Korpisalo saved 28 shots.
“Everybody found a way to contribute,” said Kings coach Todd McLellan, who watched 10 players contribute at least one point. “We played with a high level of pace, which you have to do against this team. Excellent goal when we needed it and some timely goals. So when we leave here, we are happy with the group as a whole, not just with two or three players, but with the whole group.”
Evan Rodrigues and Nathan MacKinnon scored for the Avalanche, who are 1-3-1 in their last five games. MacKinnon’s goal extended their home scoring streak to 15 games.
“I feel like every mistake we made was written down,” MacKinnon said. “It was a strange game.”
For the Kings, it was an answer game to keep the Avalanche at bay, starting with Kempe scoring 24 seconds into the third quarter to make it 3-1. And then, when MacKinnon scored early in the third, Danault responded 15 seconds later to restore the two-goal lead.
Danault also sealed things with an empty net goal, which was the 100th goal of his career.
“I liked the team game,” Kopitar said. “I don’t think we gave up much against a really good team.”
Looking beside themselves and trailing 2-0 in the second period, the Avalanche found a spark through a sleet of ice. Several Colorado players shoved Kings forward Viktor Arvidsson after he sent an icy mist past goaltender Alexandar Georgiev following a save. Sean Walker joined in and took down Cale Makar to get a rude call.
And while the Avalanche didn’t convert the penalty, the play provided a boost. Shortly after, Rodrigues finished off to make it 2-1. MacKinnon had a chance to equalize moments later on a breakaway, only to send a wrist shot wide.
“We should have approached this like a playoff game tonight,” Makar said. “For us, I think we just have to continue to emphasize patience.”
There was a troubling moment for the Kings in the second quarter after forward Kevin Fiala collided with Andrew Cogliano at the blue line. Fiala, who leads the team in scoring, was helped by a coach and entered the locker room. Fiala returned and assisted on Danault’s goal.
Georgiev finished with 26 saves.
Kopitar’s three assists give him 56 career points against the Avalanche, which is the second-most among active skaters. Blake Wheeler leads the way with 58 points against Colorado.
When asked what level Kopitar is playing at right now, Kempe just laughed it off.
“He’s been playing at that level for 17 years,” Kempe said. “He Appears every night.”