LOS ANGELES -- And the beat goes on.
The playoff race is hardly all downhill from here, but the Kings are certainly headed in the right direction just past the quarter-pole.
They gave up three unanswered goals in the third period to the struggling Colorado Avalanche but still won, 4-3, on Saturday afternoon at Staples Center, running their record to 11-1-3 since Jan. 20 and maintaining their grip on fifth place in the bloated midsection of the Western Conference standings.
The Kings took a season-high 42 shots on goal while holding the Avalanche to 17, two above the season low by an opponent.
Brad Richardson stepped in for the recently claimed Marco Sturm as the top line left wing and assisted on Anze Kopitar's first-period goal in his 300th game in a Kings’ uniform.
Alec Martinez returned from a two-game stay in the press box and hammered in a slap shot for his fourth goal of the season.
Later in the second period, Drew Doughty scored on another slap shot that trickled through the legs of Colorado goalkeeper Brian Elliott. Ryan Smyth assisted on the goal for the 400th helper in his NHL career. Doughty also triggered a $212,500 bonus clause in his contract for reaching double-digits in goals.
Jarett Stoll then finished off the scoring with another well-place slap shot on one of nine power plays by the Kings, giving them a 4-0 lead early in the third period. Stoll now has 17 goals on the season. Three more and the Kings will have five 20-goal scorers for the first time since 1992-93.
Jonathan Quick came within seven minutes of his seventh shutout of the season, but the Avalanche netted a 5-on-3 by David Jones, then scored 39 seconds later on an even-strength goal by Jones.
More to come from the locker room