Colorado Avalanche 4, Kings 1
Eight keys to the game:
THE FACTS: A perplexing season continued its latest turn for the worse Wednesday night. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, one of the few bright spots during the first three-quarters of this season, picked up where he left off the night before in a 5-4 shootout loss in Phoenix, giving up three first-period goals before he was lifted in the loss at Pepsi Center in Denver.
THE STAT: Quick has given up seven goals in his last three periods and two more in Tuesday's shootout against the Coyotes. Before this two-game trip, he had a 1.86 goals-against average and had not allowed more than two goals in his previous eight starts.
TURNING POINT: About seven minutes into the first period, the Avs had numbers on the forecheck and used it to their advantage, taking possession before separating into open space in the offensive zone. David Jones fed the puck from along the boards to Mark Olver in the left faceoff circle and he picked out the top left corner with a nice shot over Quick’s right shoulder for a 1-0 lead. Six minutes later, Kings winger Kyle Clifford passed the puck to the wrong team behind his own net. Paul Stastny took possession and scored on a wraparound for a 2-0 lead. With the Kings averaging a league-low 2.07 goals coming in, that seemed to be enough.
HOT: In a matter of four games, the seat for general manager Dean Lombardi has warmed up a few dozen degrees. The Kings lost back-to-back 1-0 games at Staples Center last week, blew a 3-0 lead against the Coyotes last night and never showed up against Colorado. If this listing ship doesn’t right itself in a hurry, Lombardi won’t get another chance to fix things in the offseason. This is the team he spent the last five years building, and when they were expected to take a big step forward this season, they’ve taken two back. Unbelievably, the Kings still hold onto eighth place in the Western Conference. His next move before Monday’s trade deadline could determine his fate with the franchise.
NOT: The lack of production for Kings forward Trevor Lewis is often excused because he’s such a solid defender, especially on the penalty kill. He wasn’t good on either end of the ice against Colorado, finishing a season-high minus-3 while failing to contribute a point for the 10th consecutive game. Brad Richardson, another forward who hasn't scored this month, was also minus-3.
GOOD MOVE: In the middle of this landslide, just a week after the Kings announced they were increasing season-ticket prices an average of 9-11 percent next season, the red-hot Ducks announced they were decreasing prices for 40 percent of their season-ticket base next season, a combined savings of 4.8 percent.
BAD MOVE: Everything indicated Sutter would go with backup Jonathan Bernier against the Avs. Quick had a rough go the night before in Phoenix and was due for a rest anyway, especially on the back end of two straight road games. By the time Sutter finally got Bernier in for the struggling Quick, it was already 3-0.
NOTABLE: The Avs played the final two periods with just five defensemen after Erik Johnson left because of back spasms. Johnson had scored goals in three straight games for Colorado. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty scored a goal for the second straight game to keep his team from getting shut out for the third time in a week.
UP NEXT: Saturday vs. Chicago Blackhawks at Staples Center, 5 p.m.