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KINGS WIN BIG SHOW UNBEATEN STREAK SNOWBALLS TO EIGHT KINGS 6, COLORADO 4.

Byline: Matt McHale Staff Writer

Saturday matinees haven't been this good since Errol Flynn.

The suspense, the fist fights, the shots across the bow, and that was just the first 20 minutes of the Kings' 6-4 afternoon victory over the mighty Colorado Avalanche.

And after the Kings had clinched their eighth consecutive game without a loss, there even was a love scene between a team and the roaring sellout crowd of 18,118 at Staples Center. The fans could have been at a football game but instead chose sunshine indoors.

``This game had it all,'' said goaltender Jamie Storr, whose second- period juggling act changed the game's momentum. ``We went from standing around watching how good they were to saying, `Hey, we can play with these guys.' It was something.''

It was two power-play goals by Ziggy Palffy, who had just one in his previous 10 games. It was two more by Luc Robitaille, who also added two assists. It was a goal and two assists by wunderkind defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky and the all-around effort of the Kings' thirtysomething third line - Bob Corkum, Kelly Buchberger and Nelson Emerson.

But most of all it was the end-to-end excitement against the Stanley Cup- favorite Avalanche that had the crowd buzzing. The Kings haven't had an unbeaten run this long since 1993.

``We didn't think about the streak, we just knew that this was a big, big game to win,'' Robitaille said. ``When it was over, we could talk about the streak. But today we knew we were playing the hottest team in the league. This was big.''

The Avalanche, which already this season has had 10- and six- game unbeaten streaks, was playing without injured stars Peter Forsberg, Chris Drury and Adam Deadmarsh. But it hardly showed when it took a 2-0 lead in the first period.

It looked even worse for the Kings when right-winger Glen Murray went down late in the first with a strained muscle just above the right knee and didn't return. Murray's injury could keep him out awhile, but the Kings didn't have time to mourn.

Ian Laperriere got into a huge fight with Greg DeVries just after Colorado's second goal. Laperriere received a total of 17 minutes in penalties, seemingly one for every punch that connected with DeVries' chin.

The Kings scored midway through the first, but it still was 3-1 Avs until the rookie Visnovsky scored 4:18 into the second. On the play, Buchberger cleared out the middle in front of Colorado goaltender Patrick Roy.

That was the way the third line played all day. When Emerson finally put an end to the scoring on an empty-netter with 54 seconds left, it was Buchberger who made the steal and patiently passed where Emerson could get to the puck.

``You look at those guys and you see the biggest difference in our team,'' captain Rob Blake said. ``They've all done great things individually over the years. But the effort they are giving right now is as responsible for this as anything. They have made us into a team.''

The second period might have been the Kings' best this season. Storr stopped 16 of Colorado's 47 shots, including five straight during an Avs power play. They also scored four times. In addition to Visnovsky, Robitaille got his second - on the power play - and Palffy got both of his with the man advantage.

Robitaille got his during a five-on-three power play at the 7:38 mark of the second, poking it past Roy after a pass from Palffy.

Twenty-two seconds later, the Kings were still on the power play and Palffy took a pass from Blake and ripped a shot into the upper right-hand corner of the net that Roy never saw.

In the final minute of the period, the public-address announcer offered free ice cream for everyone if the Kings scored. Thirty-eight seconds later, Palffy beat Roy again.

``That was sweet,'' Robitaille said.

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo: The Kings' Glen Murray writhes in pain after suffering a knee injury in the first period of Saturday's game.

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 19, 2000
Words:685
Previous Article:KINGS NOTEBOOK: STORR WON'T BACK DOWN AGAINST AVS.
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