Kings Force Game 7 vs. Avalanche
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LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Felix Potvin made sure the Los Angeles Kings got to a Game 7 against the Avalanche _ again.
Potvin made 23 saves as the Kings beat the Avalanche 3-1 Saturday to even the first-round series at three games apiece, with the deciding contest set for Monday in Denver.
The win mirrored the Kings’ playoff comeback of last year, when they also fell behind Colorado 3-1 in their second round series before winning two straight. The Avalanche then won the deciding game 5-1.
In Saturday’s Game 6, the Avalanche played without Peter Forsberg, a late scratch because of a leg injury sustained in the previous game. Forsberg, who missed the entire regular season because of a leave of absence and foot injuries, had returned for the opening playoff round and sparked the Avalanche to victories in the first two games.
Jason Allison scored just 1:21 into Game 6, his third goal of the series, and Brad Chartrand gave Los Angeles a 2-0 lead at the 6:44 mark with the first playoff goal of his career.
Brian Smolinski built the Kings’ advantage to 3-0 at 6:19 of the second period with his second goal of the series, as the Kings scored three times on their first 10 shots against Patrick Roy.
Roy finished with 17 saves.
Los Angeles was missing two key players, with right wing Adam Deadmarsh sidelined by a neck sprain and defenseman Philippe Boucher out after he was hit near the eye by the puck in the previous game.
Trailing by three goals, the Avalanche finally scored at 9:37 of the second period against Potvin _ who shut Colorado out in the Kings’ 1-0 overtime win in Game 5.
Colorado defenseman Rob Blake, formerly with Los Angeles, set up the goal as he skated off for a line change. Blake passed to Riku Hahl, whose 45-foot slap shot bounced off the crossbar and caromed into the net.
Smolinski, getting his second goal of the series, wristed a shot from close range on the left side up and over Roy’s shoulder on the stick side.
Chartrand’s goal came on a give-and-go with teammate Mikko Eloranta. Chartrand skated down the right side to the goal line with the puck and passed to Eloranta directly behind the net. Eloranta outfought Joe Sakic for the puck, then passed into the slot as Chartrand sliced across in front of the goal.
Chartrand beat Colorado defenseman Greg De Vries to the puck, then banged in a 10-footer that skidded between Roy’s legs. De Vries was between Chartrand and Roy, screening the goaltender’s vision.
Roy, who has more playoff experience than any other goaltender in NHL history, looked amateurish on the Kings’ first goal.
Ziggy Palffy shot from 45 feet away, and Roy tried to glove the puck but fumbled it off his pads. The puck dropped to the ice and Roy came out of the crease to try to poke it away. Instead, he slid the puck right into the onrushing Allison.
Forsberg, after not playing during the regular season because of a leave of absence and foot injuries, helped Colorado win the first two games of the series, with two assists in a 4-3 opening victory, and a goal and two assists in the Avalanche’s 5-3 win.
He has been held to one assist since then.
Notes: Only 16 of 186 teams that have trailed a seven-game series 3-1 went on to win the series. The Kings did it against Edmonton in 1989. ... In all 13 playoff games between the Avalanche and Kings, the team that scored first went on to win. ... Roy has been in 225 playoffs games, with a 140-83 record. He has played in the postseason 16 times in his career, including the last seven in a row. ... LW Cliff Ronning played for the Kings after missing two games because of a concussion.