Cody McLeod, Jonathan Quick, Alec Martinez

Los Angeles Kings fight off late Colorado Avalanche surge, win 4-3

In the middle of the third period of this afternoon’s game between the Colorado Avalanche and the Los Angeles Kings, it seemed like the burning question was whether or not Jonathan Quick would end up with a breezy shutout. After all, the Kings held a 4-0 lead.

Yet David Jones scored two goals in less than a minute apart to make it a game again in the second half of the final frame, while Paul Stastny brought the Kings’ lead to within one goal with 30 seconds left. It wasn’t pretty, but Drew Doughty & Co. managed to hold onto what was once a flabby lead to give the Kings their third win in a row.

Los Angeles 4, Colorado 3

Los Angeles is now 11-1-3 in their last 15 games, which is made even more impressive because they just wrapped up a mammoth 10-game road trip.

Both Doughty and Anze Kopitar had a goal and assist for the Kings while Jones scored those aforementioned two goals for the Avalanche. Newly acquired Colorado goalie Brian Elliott kept the Avs in the game by stopping 38 out of 42 shots. Quick had a much lighter night of work, allowing three goals on only 17 shots for his 28th win of 2010-11.

It would have been a shame to waste a 42-17 shot disparity with a loss, so the Kings managed to sidestep that disappointment. Thankfully, style points aren’t a tiebreaker for the NHL playoffs.

Speaking of which, the Kings now find themselves reasonably comfortable in that regard (relatively speaking of course), as their 74 points and 35 wins place them alone in fifth place in the West as of this writing. Meanwhile, Colorado can probably acknowledge the need to go in “tank mode” as they’re second to last in the conference with only 59 points.

Video: On Hockey Day in America, Auston Matthews did this . . .

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 11:  Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Air Canada Centre on November 11, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Flyers 6-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Born in Scottsdale, AZ., Auston Matthews has taken the NHL by storm in his rookie season as an elite talent headlining an impressive freshman class.

Taken first overall last June, Matthews made history with four goals in his debut, surely a dizzying experience for Maple Leafs fans accustomed to heartbreak and frustration. And he really hasn’t slowed down since.

On Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes — and on Hockey Day in America — the 19-year-old Matthews once again put on a show, scoring his 28th goal of the season. That gave Toronto a two-goal lead.

As he’s often done in his brief time in the NHL, this goal was of the spectacular variety, as he broke in off the left wing and, as he was getting hauled down to the ice, slid the puck five-hole on Cam Ward.

Related: Auston Matthews is having a rookie season for the ages

Video: After a slow start, Evander Kane is on a roll for the Sabres

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For about a month now, Evander Kane has enjoyed a particularly productive stretch for the Buffalo Sabres.

Kane scored with 5.6 seconds remaining in the first period of Sunday’s game versus the Chicago Blackhawks, converting on a nifty pass from Jack Eichel and going top shelf on Scott Darling.

He now has goals in three straight games, and 15 points in 14 games as the Sabres have fought their way back into the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.

Of course, this latest run comes just before the trade deadline, and Kane’s name has consistently been in speculation about a possible move — in addition to off-ice issues. While GM Tim Murray has said earlier this month that he’s not actively shopping Kane, he also didn’t absolutely rule out trading the 25-year-old left winger, now into his second season in Buffalo.

(Murray: “Is there a crazy deal that somebody could throw at me that would force me to do it? I guess there is.”)

Most impressive about Kane’s numbers — remember he missed time earlier this season with a rib injury and then had a slow start, which drew the ire of the coach — is that he’s done the vast majority of his scoring, 20 of 21 goals, at five-on-five.

WATCH LIVE: Bruins at Sharks

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 9: Dominic Moore #28 of the Boston Bruins defends Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks during the first period at TD Garden on February 9, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Boston Bruins are back from their bye week, looking to continue a three-game winning streak since Bruce Cassidy took over as head coach from Claude Julien.

The Bruins can extend their streak Sunday, when they visit the San Jose Sharks (8:30 p.m. ET). You can check out the game on NBCSN or online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

The NHL’s bye week experiment is still a work in progress

Pre-game reading: Are the Bruins and Avalanche on verge of trade?

Sharks have reason to wait on Thornton, Marleau extensions

Video: Trouba called for a hit to the head on Stone

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Jacob Trouba could be getting a call from the NHL Department of Player Safety for a hit to the head of Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone.

The incident occurred during the third period of Sunday’s game, as Stone was passing the puck after he entered the zone. Trouba stepped up and delivered a high hit, resulting in only a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head.

Stone, who dealt with a concussion that was reported in September, remained down on the ice before eventually going to the dressing room.

As you can see from the video, Senators coach Guy Boucher was furious officials on the ice decided this was only worth a minor for Trouba.