Demitra scored two goals and the Los Angeles Kings took advantage of poor goaltending to beat the Avalanche 5-3 on Wednesday night.
“I’ll take teams like that with goalies like that any day,” Demitra said. “It helps to win a game.”
“Pavol was quietly efficient,” Kings coach Andy Murray said. “He had a quiet night with some points.”
Michael Cammalleri and Lubomir Visnovsky added goals to help the Kings win for the sixth time in seven games. Tom Kostopoulos also scored for Los Angeles, which has won all three meetings with Colorado this season.
Mathieu Garon stopped 32 shots for his 16th win, outdueling both Avalanche counterparts.
“I thought we played hard and got ourselves back in the game,” Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. “We stayed with it to the end.”
But it was another game—the second straight—in which he was forced to pull an underachieving goalie.
Budaj was yanked 11 minutes in after surrendering two goals on four shots. Aebischer gave up three goals in 20 shots.
“(Pulling a goalie) is something you don’t like doing,” Quenneville said. “In the last game it worked, and tonight, it didn’t.”
Cammalleri, Visnovsky and Demitra scored in the first period to give the Kings a 3-1 lead. Budaj let Cammalleri’s shot get between his skate and the left post at 8:30 for his seventh goal in nine games.
Visnovsky scored from the slot on a give-and-go with Derek Armstrong at 11:05, 15 seconds into a power play. Budaj was immediately replaced by Aebischer, the second time in two games the Avalanche made a change in the first period.
McLean got the Avalanche back to 2-1 at 18:59 on a rebound shot after Garon stopped Hejduk on a 2-on-1 break. Los Angeles regained a two-goal edge when Aebischer whiffed on Demitra’s shot from just beyond the blue line with 21 seconds left in the period.
“It was a great goal,” Demitra said sarcastically. “I tried to hit the puck as hard as I can. It was a knuckler that kept jumping.”
“It was the biggest goal of the night,” Murray said. “It came right after they had cut the lead and put them back on their heels.”
Hejduk scored off a rebound of Rob Blake’s shot with Colorado on the power play at 8:03 of the second period. Demitra countered with his second goal at 13:03 on a shot that caromed off the right post into the net to give Los Angeles a 4-2 lead heading into the third period.
Kostopoulos made it 5-2 when he got free for a one-timer at 8:21 of the third period. Hejduk got his second of the game at 12:38.
: The Avalanche sent G Vitaly Kolesnik to Lowell of the AHL. … D Aaron Miller was a scratch for the Kings because of a sore lower back. … Aebischer was booed as he left the ice during the two intermissions.