Avalanche score six against Kings, keep pace in West race

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DENVER — J.T. Compher scored his first NHL hat trick for the Colorado Avalanche, who kept pace in the Honda West Division with a 6-0 win against the Los Angeles Kings at Ball Arena on Wednesday.

Gabriel Landeskog had a goal and an assist, and Mikko Rantanen had three assists for Colorado (38-13-4), which has won four in a row and seven of its past eight games. Philipp Grubauer made 18 saves for his seventh shutout this season, which is tied with Semyon Varlamov of the New York Islanders for the most in the NHL.

The Avalanche are two points behind the Vegas Golden Knights, who also won 6-0 against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, but can clinch the No. 1 seed from the West and win the Presidents’ Trophy with a victory against the Kings here Wednesday.

Calvin Petersen made 31 saves for Los Angeles (21-27-7), which has lost four straight.

Joonas Donskoi gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead at 14:43 of the first period on the power play, converting the rebound of Andre Burakovsky‘s shot in the slot.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare made it 2-0 at 16:02 when he jammed in a loose puck five-hole on Petersen, and Compher increased the lead to 3-0 at 19:15 with a one-timer from the right circle off a pass from Rantanen.

Compher then made it 4-0 at 4:16 of the second period, finishing a give-and-go with Devon Toews six seconds after a power play expired. 

Landeskog scored his 20th goal of the season on a backhand from the slot to push the lead to 5-0 at 10:03.

Compher completed the hat trick to make it 6-0 lead at 11:47 when he finished a return pass from Valeri Nichushkin into an open net.

Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon did not play because of an undisclosed injury.

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