Slumping Kings can’t slow surging Avalanche – Press Enterprise

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By CRAIG MEYER The Associated Press

DENVER — Two teams headed in opposite directions produced a predictable result.

Logan O’Connor scored two of Colorado’s three first-period goals helping the Avalanche to a 5-1 victory over the Kings on Friday night, handing the visitors their 13th loss in 15 games.

In a matchup of the league’s top scoring offense and its third-stingiest scoring defense, Colorado continued its recent offensive tear in which it has scored 18 goals during its three-game win streak.

Alexandar Georgiev, who will be taking part in his first career All-Star Game next week, stopped 26 shots.

Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar and Josh Manson also scored for the Avalanche, who won for the 11th time in 14 games in their final game before the NHL All-Star break.

MacKinnon’s goal and assist moved him past Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the NHL points lead with 84 and extended his franchise-record home point streak to 25 games. That latter mark ties him with Bobby Orr in 1974-75 for the second-longest home point streak to open an NHL season.

O’Connor has six goals over Colorado’s past five games. The 27-year-old right wing recorded his first career hat trick six days earlier in a win against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Friday’s setback prolonged a midseason tailspin for the Kings, who have struggled mightily since starting the season 20-7-4. During the team’s current three-game losing streak, a previously stout defense has allowed 14 goals.

The Avalanche took a 3-0 lead in the first period prompting the Kings to pull goaltender Cam Talbot in favor of David Rittich. Heading into his second career All-Star Game appearance, Talbot gave up three first-period goals on 12 shots.

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