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Demitra leads Kings over Avalanche

December 29, 2005, 12:16 am

Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Pavol Demitra had two goals and one assist to lead the Los Angeles Kings to a 5-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center.

Lubomir Visnovsky had a goal and an assist and Michael Cammalleri and Tom Kostopoulos added goals for the Kings, who have won two straight and six of their last seven games. Mathieu Garon made 32 saves in the victory.

Milan Hejduk had two goals and an assist and Brett McLean netted the other goal for the Avalanche, who have lost two of their last three games.

Peter Budaj started the game, but was pulled after allowing two goals on four shots. David Aebischer came in relief of Budaj and made 17 saves.

The Kings drew first blood in the game. Derek Armstrong made a backhand pass from behind the net to Cammalleri on the right side of the net and he jammed it in for his 14th goal at the 8:30 mark of the opening period.

Los Angeles increased its lead to 2-0 on a power play goal. Craig Conroy had the puck behind the left side of the net and sent a pass to Visnovsky in the slot, who one-timed it into the net with 8:55 left in the first period.

Budaj was pulled after this goal and Aebischer came in to take over netminding duties.

"You can't just blame the goaltenders it's a whole team thing," said Hejduk. "Give their goaltender credit he stopped a lot of chances. We had our opportunities in the game."

The Avalanche cut into the lead on McLean's fourth goal of the season with 1:01 until the first intermission.

However, the Kings got their two-goal lead back on a goal by Demitra with 22 seconds to play in the first period.

Colorado came out strong to start the second period and were rewarded for its effort with a power-play goal at the 8:03 mark. Rob Blake let loose with a blast from the left circle that Garon made a save on. The rebound, however, went right to Hejduk at the left side of the net and he poked it in to make it a 3-2 game.

However, Demitra gave Los Angeles a two-goal cushion going into the final stanza on a blast from the top of the left circle with 6:57 left in the second period.

The Kings increased their lead to 5-2 at the 8:21 mark of the third period. Dustin Brown sent a pass from deep along the left boards to Kostopoulos low in the slot, who simply redirected the puck between the pads of Aebischer for his third goal of the season.

Colorado got one back when Hejduk's one-timer from the inside of the right circle went into the right corner of the net with 7:22 remaining, however, they were unable to net any more goals and Los Angeles left the building with the win.

"Its nice to get points in here," said Kings coach Andy Murray. "They got so much balance, they'll get their goaltending squared away. Our goaltender was good and we got some fortunate bounces."

Game Notes

The Avalanche start a two-game road trip on Friday at San Jose...Los Angeles continues its three-game road trip tomorrow at Phoenix...Demitra has seven goals and one assist in three games against Colorado this season...Visnovsky has one goal and 11 assists during a nine-game point streak...Los Angeles has defeated Colorado in all three matchups this season and is 5-1-2 (two ties) in its last eight games against Colorado.