Originally created 04/28/01

Avs vow to be improved in Game 2



DENVER -- There was no panic, not even any visible signs of gnawing self-doubt. The Colorado Avalanche, upended in their series opener, insisted Friday they simply must raise their level of play in Game 2.

The seventh-seeded Los Angeles Kings beat the top-seeded Avalanche 4-3 Thursday night thanks to Jaroslav Modry's goal at 14:23 of overtime.

Felix Potvin was outstanding in goal, posting 34 saves, and Glen Murray had two goals.

It was the Kings' fifth straight playoff victory, a franchise record. They'll try to make it six in a row Saturday.

"They're playing with confidence," observed Avalanche forward Peter Forsberg, who had a goal and two assists in Game 1. "Potvin is playing well in net. He made a couple of great saves and kept them in the game. They played solid.

"If you're going to make mistakes, they're going to take advantage of them. I think we made too many mistakes to win the game."

Colorado outshot Los Angeles 37-25, including 14-2 in the second period, but couldn't shake the Kings. Murray's second goal, at 13:00 of the third period, gave Los Angeles a 3-2 lead, but Colorado tied it on Forsberg's power-play goal at 15:30.

The Kings had two power-play opportunities in overtime and cashed in on the second one after Adam Foote dragged down Ziggy Palffy on a partial breakaway. Fifty-three seconds later, Jozef Stumpel fed Modry for the game-winner.

"It's always tough to get down 1-0, but we have to bounce back on Saturday and show we're better than we played last night," Forsberg said.

Foote sensed his team was too passive, perhaps as a result of an eight-game layoff since sweeping Vancouver in the first round.

"You can't just hover around out there," Foote said. "You can't assume that Patty (goaltender Patrick Roy) can come up with a big save or we're going to come up with a big defensive play or Joe (Sakic) is going to get a great wrister in. We have to play as a six-man unit all over the ice. We have to think playoff-style hockey, grit and togetherness."

Roy, less than brilliant in the opener, assumed much of the blame.

"I have to come back (Saturday) with a big game," Roy said. "There were a couple of soft goals. I'm going to have to step up my game. My belief is, from past experience, that this thing will turn around. I'm going to go out there and regroup and try to go for a fresh start."

Roy, the NHL's winningest playoff goalie, complained that he didn't see enough shots to stay sharp throughout the game.

In that case, responded Los Angeles coach Andy Murray, the Kings hope to oblige him.

"He is Patrick Roy," Murray said, "and if that is what he says, I will believe that. We will try to give him a lot more on Saturday. We had only two shots in the second period. But we had nine in overtime."

The Kings, who won four straight games after dropping the first two to Detroit in the first round, aren't content with gaining a split in the opening two games of this series in Denver.

"Our goal is to go home up 2-0," Murray said. "You can say you're happy with a split later on, but right now you want to go up 2-0."

Murray scolded the Palffy-Stumpel line before the third period and again before overtime, and got the desired result.

"We challenged them to pick up their game, and they were very good, especially in overtime," Murray said.

The coach planned few changes for Game 2, but was hopeful his team could avoid penalties.

"We took penalties in the second period that put us 4-on-4," he said. "The Avalanche are dangerous enough 5-on-5. We would just as soon not play them 4-on-4. When you play them 4-on-4, you tend to see Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg all the time. And when they have more room to skate, they're more dangerous."

The Kings expected center Eric Belanger to be back on the ice for Game 2. He had to be helped from the ice with back spasms in the third period Thursday night and did not return.