LOS ANGELES -- Colorado goaltender Sami Aittokallio was thrust into his first NHL game against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, and the first few minutes were predictable: two goals allowed on the first six shots.
But Aittokallio held his ground with 23 saves before leaving midway through the third period with an apparent lower-body injury. Jean-Sebastien Giguere finished the game for Colorado in net, but he wasn't able to stop any of the Kings' three attempts in the shootout as Los Angeles pulled out a 3-2 win on Thursday night.
Aittokallio, 20, was the second-youngest goalie ever to start for Colorado -- behind only 19-year-old Marc Denis in 1996. He was recalled this week because Semyon Varlamov was injured and coach Joe Sacco decided to give him a look. But Aittokallio went prone after a leg appeared to buckle under him while the Kings were attacking shorthanded and had to be helped off the ice.
Giguere, who got the win Wednesday night against the Anaheim Ducks, replaced him and made 10 saves in 15:36 of regulation and overtime before being beaten by Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown in the shootout.
The Avalanche tied it 2-2 at 5:15 of the third period when Stefan Elliott's point shot was deflected through traffic with Jonathan Quick sliding to his left. Patrick Bordeleau was credited with the goal - his first of his NHL career.
Colorado carried their momentum from the second period and outshot the Kings 9-0 to start the third. They gained a power play on Drew Doughty's high-sticking penalty but couldn't convert as Aittokallio went down during an awkward move in the net with the Kings attacking while shorthanded.
"He had cramps in the legs," coach Joe Sacco said. "Both legs cramped up. Obviously it was pretty serious because he couldn't finish the game. Just dehydrated."
After the quick start, Los Angeles had a big letdown second period and didn't put a shot on goal until Kopitar's easy wrister with 7:05 remaining. L.A. was outshot 11-6 and took a slim 2-1 lead into the third after Colorado's hard work finally paid off. David Jones freed the puck from Carter behind the net and Paul Stastny quickly stuffed it past Quick at 16:19. Stastny scored his first goal since he came back from a foot injury Tuesday.
Aittokallio's early nerves didn't get any help from his teammates, who took two penalties in the first five minutes. Carter ripped a wrist shot high from the left circle that banked in off the post at 5:27 with Brad Malone serving a holding penalty. Carter's 24th goal tied him with John Tavares of the New York Islanders for third in the NHL.
At 7:14, Richards grabbed Jake Muzzin's fanned shot and wristed it past Aittokallio from the high slot for a 2-0 lead.
The Avs now return home for four-straight games, beginning on Saturday at 1 p.m. against the Vancouver Canucks.