Jones perfect in shootout as Kings edge Avs
LOS ANGELES -- The Cinderella story of Los Angeles Kings rookie goaltender Martin Jones continues with the latest chapter written with some hockey history.
The former undrafted free agent stopped 23 shots and was perfect in the shootout as the Kings defeated the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Saturday.
Jones equaled the NHL record for consecutive winning games to start a career, set by Bob Froese, who also won his first eight games with Philadelphia in 1982-83.
"It's been good. I've said it before it's a good start, but it's something to build off of and make sure we keep getting better here," Jones said. "I thought we deserved to win in regulation today."
Kings center Anze Kopitar, who scored the game deciding goal in the shootout and is enjoying his best all-around season praised the newcomer.
"He is perfect in the shootout so far," Kopitar said. "Tonight we only needed one shootout goal, as we did in Anaheim a few weeks back. The most important thing is to get the two points."
After falling behind 2-0, the Avalanche (23-10-2) came back to force overtime thanks to power-play goals by defenseman Erik Johnson and center Ryan O'Reilly.
O'Reilly led the way with a goal and an assist, while center Matt Duchene added two assists. Goaltender Seymon Varlamov was primarily responsible for sending the game to extra time by stopping 37 Los Angeles shots.
Though Colorado failed to earn the bonus point, coach Patrick Roy was pleased with the team's effort.
"I thought we showed a lot of character, being down 2-0 you see how important it is to score on a power play," Roy said. "I thought it was a big point for us, no doubt about it."
Roy was happy with his team's response in the final period as they entered the contest with a poor 1-8-0 record when trailing after 40 minutes. The point earned against one of the NHL's best teams is something to build on as they face another big challenge against the Sharks in San Jose on Monday.
The Kings opened the scoring when center Jeff Carter batted home a rebound of a shot by defenseman Drew Doughty. Carter's 11th goal of the season and eighth in 11 career games against Colorado came at 19:28, with Kopitar getting the secondary assist.
Los Angeles widened the lead in the first five minutes of the middle period when right winger Justin Williams batted a shot by center Jarret Stoll past Varlamov for his team-leading 12th goal at 5:25 on a play initiated by winger Dustin Brown from behind the net.
Johnson scored his fifth goal of the season to get the Avalanche within one after 40 minutes. He penetrated deep into the Los Angeles zone and converted a cross-ice pass from Duchene, with O'Reilly earning the second assist.
With Los Angeles center Mike Richards off for delay-of-game at 9:52 of the third period, O'Reilly and Duchene combined to tie the game. O'Reilly roofed a wrist shot past Jones 35 seconds into the man advantage for his 12th goal of the season as Duchene spotted his from his station behind the net.
The Kings are now winners of nine of their last 10 games, outscoring opponents 32-18 during this streak.
The victory tied the season series between the teams at one 1-1 and kept Los Angeles (25-8-4) with a perfect 14-0-0 record when leading after two periods.
NOTES: The Avalanche conclude a quick two-game trip in San Jose on Monday, their last game before the NHL's holiday break. ... Colorado scratched D Nick Holden, C Brad Malone and D Ryan Wlison. ... Three Avalanche players celebrated milestones, C Paul Stastny played in his 500th NHL game, while C Ryan O'Reilly and LW Jamie McGuinn each appeared in their 300th. ... Los Angeles did not dress LW Daniel Carcillo, RW Matt Frattin and D Willie Mitchell. ... Kings RW Jordan Nolan played in his 100th NHL game. ... The Kings play their final home game of the 2013 calendar year against Dallas on Monday ahead of a four-game trip against Central Division opponents Nashville, Chicago, Dallas and St. Louis.