Kings, Avs burn midnight oil

first_imgLOS ANGELES – There should be bright days ahead for both the Kings and Colorado Avalanche, but the present is dim. The Kings, with Anze Kopitar, and the Avalanche, with Paul Stastny, have talented young scorers who give them solid reason for optimism, but this has been a season of frustration for both franchises. Marek Svatos cored three minutes later for a 4-2 lead and Alexander Frolov answered at the nine-minute mark, but in terms of style, not of the goals could top the first one. Nine minutes into the first period, Kopitar came down the right side and cut to the net, around defenseman Karlis Skrastins, who tried to trip up Kopitar. It didn’t work, and Kopitar waited until goalie Peter Budaj went to his knees before firing a shot at a tough angle to give the Kings a 1-0 lead. The second assist on the goal went to 40-year-old goalie Sean Burke, who played his first NHL game on March 2, 1988, five-plus months after Kopitar’s birth. It was Burke’s 28th assist in 808 NHL games. The Kings’ future is with its youth, and before Saturday’s game they dumped a struggling veteran. Oleg Tverdovsky, who had been a healthy scratch in the last nine games, cleared waivers and was assigned to the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester. N.H. Tverdovsky, a former All-Star defenseman, had been replaced of late by journeymen Kevin Dallman and Mike Weaver. Both teams entered Saturday outside the Western Conference playoff picture, Colorado in 10th place, the Kings in last place. The Avalanche, trying to keep its playoff hopes alive, led the Kings 4-3 in the third period before an announced 18,118 at Staples Center, but Kopitar provided the highlight moment. Kopitar scored the first goal, but Colorado rallied from a 2-0 deficit and took the lead 61 seconds into the third period when John-Michael Liles scored on the power play. center_img Tverdovsky, due $2.5 million this next and next season, came over from Carolina in the trade that also brought highly touted prospect Jack Johnson to the Kings. Tverdovsky, and his bloated salary, represented the penance the Kings had to pay in order to land Johnson, who is considered a future NHL star. Johnson, a sophomore at Michigan, is dominating the NCAA ranks this season and the Kings will make a major push to sign him once the season ends, but that’s no sure bet. Johnson became available because he wouldn’t turn pro, and the Kings will have to convince Johnson’s family that he should leave school. The Kings led 2-0 in the first period on goals by Kopitar and Brian Willsie. Brett Clark and former King Ian Laperriere tied the game in the second period. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img