After a sluggish start to the season, the Los Angeles Kings’ offense is starting to get in gear.
The Kings look to win their third straight game Monday when they host the Colorado Avalanche, who are also trying to win three in a row.
Los Angeles (2-2-0) scored just one goal while losing its first two games of 2008-09, but has totaled 10 to win the last two games.
The Kings defeated Carolina 4-3 on Friday, when Michal Handzus scored his second goal of the game with 1:39 remaining in overtime. Los Angeles, which allowed the first two goals Tuesday before beating Anaheim 6-3, rallied from a two-goal deficit for the second straight game.
“Last year in a game like this, we would have just folded the tent and not done what we did tonight,” said Kings goaltender Jason LaBarbera, who stopped 23 shots Friday.
“It’s fun coming to the rink this year. It’s a fun group to be around. Everybody’s enjoying each other, and that makes such a huge difference when you go on the ice.”
Los Angeles’ top scorers from last season appear to be rounding into form.
Dustin Brown, who led the Kings with 33 goals in 2007-08, scored his first goal of the season Friday and has three assists in his last two games.
Anze Kopitar signed a seven-year, $47.6 million extension last week - largely the result of his 32 goals and team-high 77 points last season. He broke into the goal-scoring column for the new season Friday.
Kopitar had two goals and three assists in four games against the Avalanche last season, but Los Angeles dropped three of those contests.
The Kings have killed all 19 of their opponents’ power-play opportunities in 2008-09.
The Avalanche (2-3-0), meanwhile, have converted 7 of 25 (28.0 percent) opportunities with the man advantage in their last three games.
In a start similar to Los Angeles, Colorado has won its last two games after opening the season with three consecutive losses.
The Avalanche hung on to defeat Dallas 5-4 on Saturday after a late rally from the Stars fell short. Dallas had a potential game-tying goal disallowed after a video review showed the puck deflect off left wing Brenden Morrow’s glove into the goal.
“I’m on a much better team than I was on last year,” Raycroft said. “Scoring five goals a game makes my life much easier.”
Raycroft may be in net again Monday, as regular starter Peter Budaj is 0-3-0 with a 4.38 goals-against average.
However, Raycroft is 1-2-0 with a 5.20 GAA in four career games against the Kings, while Budaj is 3-1-1 with a 2.41 GAA in six lifetime meetings.
LaBarbera is 0-3-0 with a 3.45 GAA in four career games versus the Avalanche.