This team still has something to prove in the young season. Despite four wins in their last five, the Kings had yet to respond to a test on the road. On opening night, the Kings blew a 4-0 lead to the Dallas Stars, losing 5-4. Tonight was their first road game since that night, and the Kings stepped it up, turning a three goal deficit into a one goal victory.
The Avs got the scoring going in the first, with Ian Laperriere firing home a writster from between the circles. The Kings fought back, with Pavol Demitra getting the team's first short-hander of the season on great pass from Craig Conroy as the Kings took advantage of a bad change. The Avs got it back quickly, with Andrew Brunnette tipping home a Rob Blake slapshot on the same power play. Lappy would push the advantage to two goals just before the end of the period.
Joe Sakic gave the Avs their biggest lead six and a half minutes into the second, getting a power play goal, and that seemed to wake up the Kings. Demitra got his second of the night, this time finishing off a nice cross ice pass from Dustin Brown. Lubo ripped home a shot right off the face off to Aebischer's right, bringing the Kings within one. With less than a minute to go in the period, Sean Avery, who was all over the ice again tonight, tied the game. The Kings had the better of play in the third period, but it looked as if the game would go into overtime. Credit the new rules, however, as the Craig Conroy tallied the game winner with about a minute to play. Aebischer went out to play the puck behind the net, but it rolled away from him and outside of the playable zone. Caught in no-man's land, Aebischer tried to scramble back to the net, but couldn't do so before Conroy buried a pass from Alexander Frolov.
The Kings have now won five of their last six, and meet up with the same Stars team that stunned them on opening night. It's the second time the Kings have had back to back games. They're one for one in that situation, but that was at home against an opponent who had also played the night before. A win tomorrow night would be a signal that the Kings just might be for real. LaBarbera figures to get the start in Andy Murray's goalie rotation. He's been excellent, although he hasn't faced the same level of opponent that Garon has. Whatever. He's getting the job done, and so far, I like the rotation. It will be mentioned a lot, but it's not unlike the Hrudey/Berthiaume rotation that the Kings used under Tom Webster in the 1990-1991 season when the Kings won the Smythe Division.