Kings fall apart in 4-1 loss to Avalanche

DENVER — Paul Stastny scored two goals, Semyon Varlamov stopped 32 shots and the Colorado Avalanche picked up a 4-1 victory Wednesday night for their first season sweep of the Kings in nearly two decades.

Mark Olver and Jay McClement also scored for the Avalanche, which has won three straight at home and moved to within two points of the Kings for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Colorado was 4-0 against the Kings this season, the first time the team has swept the series since 1992-93, when the franchise was in Quebec.

The Avalanche scored three goals in a fast first period, leading the Kings to pull Jonathan Quick, one of the top goaltenders in the NHL. He was replaced by Jonathan Bernier in the second period.


Varlamov lost his shutout bid early in the third period when Dustin Brown deflected in Drew Doughty’s slap shot from near the blue line.

The young Russian goalie is playing much more lately while Jean-Sebastien Giguere is recovering from a groin injury. Varlamov has had quite a bit of success against the Kings so far in his career, going 3-0 with a 1.33 goals-against average.

Colorado jumped all over Quick early in the game, with Olver scoring on a wrist shot, Stastny taking advantage of a turnover deep in the Kings’ zone with a wraparound goal and McClement tipping in a pass from Ryan O’Reilly.

Quick struggled for the second straight game. The Kings blew a three-goal lead in a 5-4 shootout loss at Phoenix on Tuesday.


Quick has given up seven goals in his last two outings, but he still has a 1.92 goals-against average.

Clifford cleared

Kings winger Kyle Clifford, who was ejected from the Kings’ game Tuesday against Phoenix for an illegal hit to the head of Coyotes forward Gilbert Brule, was not subjected to further discipline from the league. He did not have a hearing with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, a team official said.

— Helene Elliott