Kempe, Danault each score twice as Kings roll by Avs 5-2
DENVER (AP) — Adrian Kempe and Phillip Danault each scored twice as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 on Thursday night for their fifth straight win.
Gabriel Vilardi also added a goal and Anze Kopitar had three assists goals for the Kings, who remain tied with Vegas for the top spot 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 stopped 28 shots.
Evan Rodrigues and Nathan MacKinnon scored for the slumping Avalanche, who are 1-3-1 over their last five games. MacKinnon's goal extended his home points streak to 15 games.
For the Kings, it was a game of answers to keep the Avalanche at bay, starting with Kempe scoring 24 seconds into the third period 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 his 100th career score.
Looking out of sorts and trailing 2-0 in the second period, the Avalanche found a spark through a spray of ice. Several Colorado players pushed Kings forward Viktor Arvidsson after he sent a mist of ice at goaltender Alexandar Georgiev following a save. Sean Walker joined in and knocked down Cale Makar to draw a roughing call.
And while the Avalanche didn’t convert on the penalty, the play did provide a boost. Soon after, Rodrigues tipped in a shot to make it 2-1. MacKinnon had a chance to tie it moments later on a breakaway, only to send a wrist shot wide.
There was a concerning moment for the Kings in the second period after forward Kevin Fiala collided with Andrew Cogliano at the blue line. Fiala, who leads the team in scoring, was helped off by a trainer and into the locker room. Fiala returned and assisted on Danault's goal.
Georgiev finished with 26 saves.
Kopitar's three assists gives 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.
THIS & THAT
The banged-up Avalanche remain without goaltender Pavel Francouz, forward Darren Helm, captain Gabriel Landeskog and defensemen Erik Johnson, Josh Manson and Kurtis MacDermid. ... Kings forward Trevor Moore was activated from injured reserve before the game. ... Los Angeles F Quinton Byfield extended his assist streak to five games. ... The Kings improved to 2-0 against Colorado this season.
Kings: Start a seven-game homestand Saturday against Nashville.
Avalanche: Finish a stretch of four in a row at home against Arizona on Saturday.
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Pat Graham, The Associated Press