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Kuemper, Avalanche power play take care of Kings in 3-0 win

Colorado goaltender Darcy Kuemper has recorded back-to-back shutouts for the second time this season.
Credit: AP
Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper, center, makes a save against Los Angeles Kings' Blake Lizotte during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 15, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

LOS ANGELES — Darcy Kuemper made 23 saves for his second straight shutout, Valeri Nichushkin and J.T. Compher scored on the power play, and the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-0 on Tuesday night.

Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist, and the Avalanche continued their push for a second straight Presidents’ Trophy by becoming the first team this season to pass the 90-point mark.

Kuemper followed up his 46-save showing in a 3-0 win over Calgary on Sunday by getting his fifth shutout of the season.

Jonathan Quick allowed three goals on 27 shots for the Kings, who are 1-2-1 in their past four games.

Colorado’s dangerous special teams cashed in on each of its first two power plays, with Nichushkin racing through the slot to put in Rantanen’s centering pass at 6:36 of the first period.

Compher put Colorado ahead 2-0 with 29 seconds left in the second by redirecting Cale Makar’s shot long. Makar was instrumental in the sequence by racing down to break up Anze Kopitar’s short-handed breakaway and forcing his shot wide before the Avalanche got their league-leading 51st goal with the man advantage.

Defenseman Josh Manson made his Avalanche debut after being acquired from Anaheim in a trade Monday. Manson quickly settled in after eight seasons with the Ducks, finishing with a plus-1 rating, one shot and 10 hits in 18:13 as he hopes to add some grit to a group known for its offensive skill.

“I think they have so much talent here that really all I need to do is just come in and fly under the radar and help keep pushing the team in the right direction,” Manson said before the game. “Doing the little things that I do that a lot of times just go unnoticed, and I think that’s kind of the best way to describe it is if I’m not being noticed, then it’s probably a good thing.”

MAKING MOVES

Colorado made another trade Tuesday, picking up bottom-six forward Nico Sturm from Minnesota in exchange for Tyson Jost. Sturm has nine goals and eight assists in 53 games this season, and his contract frees up some salary-cap space compared to Jost’s if the Avalanche decide to make another acquisition before the trade deadline.

ALL OUT

Kings defenseman Tobias Bjornfot did not play after sustaining a lower-body injury against Florida on Sunday and is day-to-day. Bjornfot’s absence meant Los Angeles did not have any of its six defensemen that played on opening night in the lineup against the Avalanche. There could be at least one reinforcement on the way as Alex Edler took contact in practice Tuesday for the first time since breaking his ankle on Dec. 11 and is on track to return by the end of the month.

UP NEXT

Avalanche: At San Jose on Saturday night.

Kings: Host San Jose on Thursday night.

RELATED: Avalanche trade Jost for Sturm in swap of centers with Wild

RELATED: Avalanche trade for defenseman Josh Manson

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