DENVER — Mikko Rantanen scored two of Colorado’s franchise record-tying six second-period goals, Semyon Varlamov stopped 30 shots and the Avalanche routed the Los Angeles Kings 7-1 on Saturday.
Colorado had six goals in a period for the first time since March 3, 1999, at Florida. Gabriel Landeskog, Tyson Barrie, Sheldon Dries and Colin Wilson also scored in the decisive period. Dries’ short-handed goal made it 5-0 and chased goalie Jonathan Quick. Carl Soderberg got things rolling with a goal in the first period as Colorado returned home in fine fashion following a 1-4 trip.
Ilya Kovalchuk ended Varlamov’s shutout bid with a power-play goal in the final period.
It wasn’t all positive for the Avalanche, who announced Rantanen was out for the third period with a lower-body injury. He’s among the NHL’s scoring leaders with 73 points. In addition, veteran defenceman Erik Johnson took a puck off his jaw early in the first period. He went to the locker room for treatment and was later ruled out.
Everything was going Colorado’s way in the second, including a disallowed goal late when it was ruled that Los Angeles defenceman Derek Forbort kicked in the puck with his skate.
The Avalanche had a short-handed goal in the second after Matt Calvert grabbed a loose puck and raced in on Quick, who deflected the puck into the air. Dries was trailing on the play and batted it in with his stick. Los Angeles challenged the call for goaltender interference as Calvert landed on top of Quick. But the call was upheld. Quick gave way to Jack Campbell.
Campbell allowed goals to Rantanen and Wilson. It was the ninth time in Avalanche/Nordiques history the team has scored six goals in a period.
It was a productive afternoon for Barrie, Calvert and Nathan MacKinnon, who each had two assists. Colorado improved to 2-0-1 this season against the Kings this season and has outscored them 16-7.
Despite their recent slump, the Avs remain in the thick of playoff contention. Coach Jared Bednar considers that “miraculously” fortunate. The Avs are 3-8-2 over their last 13 games.
“No other year you go through a stretch like we went through that we’d be anywhere near a spot,” Bednar said. “But we are because other teams are struggling with it the same way we are. So, I consider ourselves lucky to this point.
“Time to get to work.”
NOTES: Quick had a 2.15 goals-against mark against Colorado going into Saturday. … The contest was part of a doubleheader with the NBA’s Denver Nuggets playing at night. It’s the first Avalanche-Nuggets doubleheader at Pepsi Center since April 8, 2006. … Colorado kicked off a five-game homestand that’s interrupted by the NHL All-Star Game and the team’s bye week.
Kings: Host St. Louis on Monday night.
Avalanche: Host Nashville on Monday night.
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Pat Graham, The Associated Press