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The Los Angeles Kings spent much of the season waiting for their role players to step up.
The contributions they had been seeking finally came [url=http://www.thejaguarsfootballauthentic.com/ronnie-harrison-jersey-authentic]Youth Ronnie Harrison Jersey[/url] , putting the Kings on the verge of making the playoffs.
Dustin Brown had a short-handed goal, and Torrey Mitchell and Kyle Clifford also scored to help Los Angeles move back into third place in the Pacific Division with a 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night.
Jonathan Quick made 27 saves for the Kings, who are one point ahead of Anaheim and can secure a postseason berth by earning one point from their final two games.
”It’s a big step,” Brown said. ”Things have to go really wrong for us and really good for other teams, but you’re never in until you’re in.”
Alexander Kerfoot had a power-play goal and Jonathan Bernier stopped 22 shots for the Avalanche.
Colorado leads St. Louis by one point for the second Western Conference wild card, but the Blues have a game in hand. The Avalanche host the Blues on Saturday in the final game of the regular season for both.
”We have a young team, but there are still no excuses [url=http://www.authenticsatlantafalcons.com/cheap-logan-paulsen-jersey]Logan Paulsen Color Rush Jersey[/url] ,” Colorado defenseman Nikita Zadorov said. ”We know we should be in the playoffs. We are a good team and we’ve worked hard all season. We’ve got to get creative.”
The Kings played more than 56 minutes with just five defensemen after Derek Forbort was injured when he was checked into the boards by Gabriel Bourque. Alec Martinez played a career-high 32:11, one of four Kings defensemen to play at least 20 minutes.
”You ask big minutes out of those guys, to dig in and play with different partners, possibly play the wrong side and different matchups than you’re accustomed to,” Kings coach John Stevens said. ”I thought that effort on the back end in terms of how far they dug in and how hard they competed was excellent.”
Stevens could not update the condition of Forbort, who left the dressing room on crutches and unable to put any weight on his right leg.
While their defensive depth was pushed to the limits, the Kings got some much-needed offense from their bottom two lines.
Los Angeles took a 1-0 lead at 9:29 of the first period thanks to an opportunistic goal by Mitchell. Bernier was caught by surprise when Nate Thompson’s shot hit the boards and bounced into the crease [url=http://www.seahawksauthorizedshops.com/authentic-michael-dickson-jersey]http://www.seahawksauthorizedshops.com/authentic-michael-dickson-jersey[/url] , jumping into the air to avoid sending it back into his own net. Mitchell charged in to score his sixth of the season.
Brown made it 2-0 at 12:32, scoring his 24th on a wrist shot from the edge of the left circle.
Clifford scored on a wraparound two minutes into the third period to restore a two-goal lead for the Kings after Kerfoot cut the deficit to 2-1 at 4:33 of the second, going top shelf over Quick’s glove for his second goal in two games.
Clifford ended a run of 12 games without a goal. Mitchell hadn’t scored since Feb. 20.
”You see what guys are willing to do this time of year and emotionally invest in a game,” Stevens said. ”I thought everybody was willing to dig in when the game mattered. We all know the enormity of this game for both teams, and we knew it was going to take a second and third effort on a lot of plays to get it done.”
NOTES: The Kings swept the season series against the Avalanche, limiting them to one goal in each of the three games. … Avalanche forward Colin Wilson had an assist after missing the previous five games with a lower-body injury.
Avalanche: Visit the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night.
Kings: Host the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.
Captain Connor McDavid scored a hat trick to lead Canada to a 5-0 win over Norway on Thursday at the ice hockey world championship, while the Czech Republic beat Russia 4-3 in overtime.
Earlier Thursday [url=http://www.coloradorockiesteamshop.com/authentic-kyle-freeland-jersey]Kyle Freeland Colorado Rockies Jersey[/url] , Cam Atkinson scored in overtime to give the United States a 3-2 win over Latvia, its fourth straight victory at the tournament.
In another tight game, Slovakia kept its hopes alive for a quarterfinal spot by topping France 3-1, with Michal Cajkovsky scoring the final goal into an empty net.
Bo Horvat scored the other two goals for Canada while goaltender Curtis McElhinney only needed to make nine saves for the shutout.
”We came out and did what we had to again,” McDavid said. ”I think we’ve got a lot better as the tournament’s going on here. We understand what this tournament is about. We have to win all games.”
After clinching his second consecutive Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer with 108 points, McDavid has four goals and six assists from four games at the championship.
Boston Bruins forwards David Pastrnak and David Krejci only joined the Czech team only on Thursday morning after being knocked out of the NHL playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning and immediately made their presence felt.
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Nikita Nesterov, Mikhail Grigorenko and Alexander Barabanov scored a goal each for Russia, which had shut out its previous three opponents.
The Americans also won after Atkinson scored his third goal in the tournament 1:23 into overtime on a power play
”It’s obviously nice to get that goal,” Atkinson said. ”It wasn’t our prettiest by no means, got to give credit to them. They fought from the start all over to the end,” he said. ”We took the points but we need to be a lot of better.”
Chris Kreider gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead when he knocked in a loose puck on a power play, but Latvia defenseman Uvis Balinskis ended goalie Keith Kinkaid’s bid for a third straight shutout with a deflected shot with 2:03 remaining in the first period.
Latvia then went ahead in the middle period through Andris Dzerins [url=http://www.authenticstampabaybuccaneers.com/cheap-jordan-whitehead-jersey]Jordan Whitehead Color Rush Jersey[/url] , but Colin White tied it for the U.S. with a slap shot that went between the pads of goalie Elvis Merzlikins.
Captain Patrick Kane and forward Alex DeBrincat finished with two assists.
Kinkaid made several key stops in the third period and finished with 17 saves in the game.
”I was just trying to keep my team even at 2-2 and they did the rest,” Kinkaid said. ”It took the overtime period to do it but we’ve got the win.”
The U.S. and Canada top Group B in Herning with 10 points followed by Finland on nine. Latvia has six points and Norway three.
In Copenhagen, Sweden dominates Group A with 12 points while Russia is second with 10. Switzerland is one point back while Slovakia has seven, one more than the Czechs.
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