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.

After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.

Greene named 11th captain in Devils history

Dion Phaneuf; Andy Greene
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Andy Greene has been named Bryce Salvador’s successor as New Jersey’s team captain.

Greene, an undrafted free agent that’s spent his entire nine-year career with the Devils organization, becomes the 11th captain in the franchise’s history and third American to wear the “C” (Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were the others).

A former standout at Miami of Ohio, Greene — who served as an alternate captain in each of the last two seasons — has developed into a steady, durable blueliner that hasn’t missed a game in three years. He’s also locked into the Devils long term, having signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the club last summer.

That deal kicks in this season, and runs through 2020.

As for the rest of the leadership group, four players will serve as alternate captains this season: Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, and Adam Henrique.

Elias and Zajac both wore an “A” in New Jersey last year, while Cammalleri and Henrique are first-timers.