DENVER — The Los Angeles Kings returned from their three-week Olympic break Wednesday in Colorado. And like most people coming back to work after a long vacation, they were a little rusty.
But they refused to knock off early and were rewarded when a tip-in by Anze Kopitar from the edge of the crease 3 minutes 13 seconds into the final period ended a tie and lifted the Kings to a wild 6-4 victory over the Avalanche.
"We could have packed it in easily and blamed it on the Olympic break, and it was the first game back and chalk it up with a couple of excuses," Kopitar said. "But we didn't get down and we believed and we were playing hard for each other.
"And at the end of the day the result was good for us."
Added goalie Martin Jones, who made three game-saving stops in the final 12 minutes: "It was a really, really gutsy win. A good character win."
Robyn Regehr, Jarret Stoll, Jeff Carter and Justin Williams also scored for the Kings, whose six goals were the most in one game since early December.
Colorado's goals, three of them power-play goals, came from Ryan O'Reilly, P.A. Parenteau, Jamie McGinn and Andre Benoit.
But it was Kopitar's second goal of the game that stood out, and only partly because it proved to be the game winner.
What was also notable was the fact that it was only the third in 38 power-play chances for the Kings dating to January.
Regehr, who had the Kings' last goal before the break, got the team's first goal after it with a slap shot from beyond the left faceoff circle 5:48 into the opening period.
That marked the first time in Regehr's 14-year career that he has scored in consecutive games.
Some shoddy defense helped Colorado erase that deficit.
O'Reilly turned a nifty backhand pass from Nick Holden into a power-play goal midway through the first period.
Parenteau then put Colorado in front, crashing the net at the right post and lifting a Matt Duchene feed into the net for a 2-1 lead.
That advantage lasted only 24 seconds into the second period before Stoll redirected in a Dustin Brown pass, starting a torrid 20 minutes in which the teams combined for five goals, including power-play goals by McGinn and Benoit to give Colorado a 4-2 lead less than five minutes before the second intermission.
Kopitar started the Kings' comeback with his 18th goal 67 secondslater and Jeff Carter then tied the score 72 seconds before the intermission, redirecting a pass from Mike Richards at the near post.
And after Kopitar put the Kings ahead early in the final period, Jones kept them there with two splendid saves before Williams closed out the scoring with an empty-net goal.
"It was great. Down by two. I don't think we can say we've done that a lot of times," defenseman Matt Greene said. "The guys were going at it, paying the price. It's good to get rewarded for it."