DENVER (AP)—Milan Hejduk struggled to score goals a year ago during an injury-plagued season. He’s determined not to let that happen again, even if it means using his head to put the puck in the net.
“I feel comfortable,” said Hejduk, who played in 74 games in 2005-06 while dealing with a variety of nagging injuries. “I have a lot of energy with these guys and it feels great.”
“You’re seeing what Milan can do when he’s healthy,” Colorado coach Joel Quenneville. “He’s skating freer and quicker.”
Paul Stastny had a goal and two assists, and John-Michael Liles and Marek Svatos each added a goal and assist. Peter Budaj stopped 27 shots for Colorado, which also got a goal from Andrew Brunette in winning for the third time in four games.
“We allowed too many chances and two many power plays to a team that can capitalize on them,” Los Angeles coach Marc Crawford. “Probably a result of playing a second game in two nights.”
The Kings had lost to Anaheim in a shootout on Sunday night.
But on Monday night it was the second period where they were outshot 17-9 and allowed five goals that did them in.
With the score tied at 1 after one period and Los Angeles center Craig Conroy still serving a double minor—interference and unsportsmanlike conduct— Colorado capitalized, scoring twice in the first 2:32 on a 5-on-3 advantage. Aaron Miller joined Conroy in the penalty box to make it a two-man disadvantage for the Kings at 46 seconds of the period.
Hejduk scored from the lower left circle at 1:25. Svatos tapped in a rebound at 2:32 to make it 3-1. After Stastny scored at 10:31, Hejduk was credited with his second goal when Patrice Brisbois’ shot deflected off Stastny’s stick and Hejduk’s face past Cloutier at 16:25.
“I’ve never scored a goal like that before, that would be my first in my whole life,” Hejduk said. “I guess I’ll do whatever it takes.”
Brunette made it 6-1 with his third goal of the year at 18:30 of the period.
“There was nothing I could do,” Cloutier said. “They shots were coming from everywhere, even off a face.”
Armstrong put the Kings ahead 1-0 at 5:10 of the first period. Brent Sopel found Armstrong behind Brisbois and tapped a shot past Budaj. Liles tied it at 1 with a slap shot from the slot at 8:47.
“I liked our response,” Quenneville said. “I thought we had a real good trip discounting the last part of the game in Montreal.”
“In every game I thought we had energy and tempo, we had pace,” he said. “We had more than our share of the puck, so after nine games we have been pleased with our play.”
: One-time Avalanche defenseman Rob Blake was booed mildly throughout the game. Blake played four-plus seasons for Colorado. … The Kings had two double-minor penalties in the first period. … Los Angeles is 2-1-0 in back-to-back games. … Two assists by Joe Sakic left him a point shy of 1,500. … The Avalanche were 3-for-6 on the power play after going 1-for-19 on their recent three-game road trip.