The Colorado Avalanche finished up their home slate of preseason games as the Los Angeles Kings came calling to the Pepsi Center Sunday night and walked out with a 2-1 shootout victory over the Avalanche. A game mostly dominated throughout by the Kings, the Avalanche would have been happy to steal the point had this been the regular season but preseason games are all about evaluation and preparation. In that way, tonight should have been very valuable for the Avalanche despite the outcome.

Highlights:

This game wasn’t broadcast so unfortunately there are no official highlights for this one.

Short Game Recap:

Los Angeles got out to a quick start, pushing the pace of play and generally doing whatever they wanted early on before Michael Mersch cashed in on a broken sequence in the Avalanche defensive zone and slipped a puck past Semyon Varlamov. Conner Bleackley turned the puck over to spark the play and nobody was home in front of the net when the puck came to Mersch.

The Avalanche would get the equalizer on a beautiful offensive set when Matt Duchene hit Blake Comeau, who wrapped the puck around the net and found a wide open Tyson Barrie in the high slot and Barrie scored with ease.

The game would see 3-on-3 action in the overtime period and the Kings outshot the Avalanche 6-0 in the extra session despite each team having a brief power play. A largely listless overtime led way to a shootout. Tanner Pearson and Dustin Brown would score for the Kings while only Gabriel Landeskog, who did “The Forsberg”, would score for the Avalanche, giving the Kings the victory.

When/Where:

September 27, 2015; Preseason Game 3
Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado

Three Stars:

  1. Semyon Varlamov – 36 saves
  2. Tyson Barrie – 1 goal
  3. Michael Mersch – 1 goal

Play of the Game:

Near the end of overtime, the Kings had a miniature 3-on-1 that resulted in a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play that would have resulted in a goal the majority of the time but Varlamov’s elite athleticism denied the attacking Kings on the doorstep as he slid post-to-post to make the stop. While ultimately it didn’t matter, it gave the Avalanche a chance in the shootout.

Turning Point:

The opening faceoff. The Kings, using the majority of their regular lineup, walked into the Pepsi Center and dictated play basically the entire game, out-shooting the Avalanche 36-18. Were it not for the steady, and sometimes spectacular, play of Varlamov, this would have been a blowout in favor of the Kings.

By the Numbers:

The name of the numbers game in this one is the dominance of the Kings in basically all phases. Despite the shot total mentioned above, the Kings also won the face-off battle 38-26 for a 59 percent success rate. Add in the 16 shots the Avalanche blocked and you get an idea of how much rubber was thrown towards the Avalanche net.

The one area the Avalanche bested the Kings was in physicality, racking up 16 hits versus just six for Los Angeles.

Lasting Impact:

If Mikko Rantanen ultimately makes the team, his performance against the majority of the Kings’ regulars will be a big reason why. He was Colorado’s best forward.

What’s Next?:

The Avs hit the road for the first time  as they had to Calgary to take on the Flames on Tuesday, September 29. Puck drops at 7:00PM Mountain.

AJ Haefele

This Aurora, Colorado native moved to Katy, Texas at a young age but found himself right back at home in 2009 and would begin covering the Avalanche a year later.

Before joining BSN Denver, A.J. had been writing for and briefly managed the popular Avalanche blog, Mile High Hockey. A.J. has been providing detailed practice reports, training camp coverage, and in-depth looks at the Avalanche and their divisional foes since 2010.