Pretty much whatever the Los Angeles Kings wanted to do Saturday, the Avalanche was a willing conduit. Want to stroll all the way behind the net and flip a backhand saucer pass to a player, as Dustin Penner did with Anze Kopitar on a second-period goal? The Avs seemed to have no problem with that.

Want to make an easy steal from a careless clearout attempt, then make a cross-ice pass to a wide-open teammate and an easy one-timer goal, as Kopitar and Justin Williams did with Dustin Brown in the first minute of the game? The Avs had no problem with that.

And so it went for most of the 60-minute matinee at the Staples Center, where the Avs seemed to play in awe of the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings in a 4-1 loss. In hockey parlance, the Avs "showed too much respect" for a Kings team that is starting to get it together after a slow start.

"We didn't have enough guys going tonight. That's the bottom line. We didn't play well," Avs coach Joe Sacco said. "We had too many guys who were not on board. That's what happens when you play a good team like that. We've got to have everybody all hands on deck, ready to play a game."