L.A. Kings struggle in Denver; Avs’ Steve Downie leaves with knee injury


Two games into the L.A. Kings’ Stanley Cup title defense has yielded a pair of losses for the surprise 2012 champs.

The Kings couldn’t hang on to a 1-0 third-period lead and ended up losing 3-1 to the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday night.

“I don’t worry,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter told after the game. “It doesn’t solve much, does it?”

After a lengthy celebration in honour of their Stanley Cup victory last June, the Kings were soundly beaten Saturday by the Chicago Blackhawks, who are now 3-0 to begin the season.

And, from all accounts, the same thing happened for the majority of Tuesday’s showdown in Denver.

Even the folks behind the Kings Twitter feed (@LAKings) that garnered so much attention during the 2012 postseason for its 140-character comedy stylings were calling it as they saw fit against the Avalanche.

On the other side, the Avalanche, led by last season’s rookie of the year Gabriel Landeskog, are now 1-1-0-0 on the season.

Landeskog got the Avs on the board one minute into the third period. David Jones gave Colorado the lead just 1:35 later and P.A. Parenteau added the insurance marker just before the midway point of the final period.

“I thought we showed a lot of resiliency,” Avalanche coach Joe Sacco was quoted as saying in The Denver Post following the victory. “The first period, I wouldn’t call it ideal, from our standpoint. But we gathered ourselves.”

The win may have come with a price, however. Steve Downie left the game with what the Post reported was a right knee injury and did not return.

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: