By Greg Beacham, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — Jeff Carter scored two goals, and Peter Budaj earned his sixth shutout of the season in the Los Angeles Kings’ 5-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.
Marian Gaborik also scored during Los Angeles’ three-goal first period, and Dustin Brown and Dwight King added third-period goals in the Kings’ first win over the Avalanche in four tries.
Budaj made 22 saves in the longtime Avalanche goalie’s 17th career shutout for Los Angeles, which has ramped up its playoff push with back-to-back victories after hosting the All-Star Game.
Spencer Martin stopped 35 shots in the 21-year-old prospect’s third NHL appearance for the league-worst Avalanche, who have lost nine straight and 19 of 21.
The break did little for Colorado, which struggled through back-to-back blowout losses in Southern California by a combined 10-1.
Carter secured the eighth 25-goal season of his 12-year NHL career with his first goal. The power forward is responsible for a higher percentage of his team’s goals than any NHL player this season, but his low-scoring teammates gave him plenty of support this time.
The Kings scored just 47 seconds into their first home game since Sunday’s All-Star Game at Staples Center.
Gaborik got his sixth goal of the season after a shot by captain Anze Kopitar, whose slow-starting season is heating up. The Slovenian center has 15 points in his last 13 games after managing just 16 points in his first 32 games this season.
Brown scored on a deflection of a shot by defenseman Kevin Gravel, who got his first point in 19 games since Dec. 10. King then ended his 26-game goal drought since Dec. 1 from well behind Colorado’s net, getting a wacky deflection off Eric Gelinas’ skate.
Avalanche forward Rene Bourque left in the opening minutes after receiving a heavy hit near the benches from Los Angeles defenseman Brayden McNabb, who wasn’t penalized for the hit. John Mitchell got an instigator penalty for starting an ensuing fight with McNabb.
Kings forward Jordan Nolan then went to the dressing room in the second period with a lower-body injury.