In seven games, they have gone where no previous King team had been before in 28 seasons.
It may have taken five edgy overtime games along the way, but the Kings are off to the best start in franchise history. They remained unbeaten Saturday after center Yanic Perreault scored 40 seconds into overtime, giving them a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Kings (4-0-3) surpassed their previous best start, which was 3-0-3, and are one of two unbeaten NHL teams, along with Philadelphia.
A bit of the marquee value--Wayne Gretzky vs. Mario Lemieux--was lost when Lemieux made a late decision not to play after his back felt sore from Friday's game against Hartford. The sellout crowd of 17,181 at the Civic Arena booed the news, but the Kings had concerns of their own. Rob Blake, their No. 1 defenseman, was on his way back to Los Angeles for MRI tests today on his twisted and swollen left knee, injured in Friday's game at Washington.
The Kings fell behind, 2-0, late in the second period on goals by Jaromir Jagr and former King forward Tomas Sandstrom, then started to chip away at the deficit with John Druce's one-timed blast from the top of the right circle with 2:15 remaining in the period.
King right wing and former Penguin Rick Tocchet then took charge, scoring his fifth goal of the season, on the power play at 7:42 of the third. Tocchet also set up Perreault in overtime, flicking him a backhanded pass from behind the net, which went between Penguin defenseman Chris Tanner's legs.
According a message scrawled on the dressing room chalkboard, Tocchet will have to hand over $500 to Perreault, and Marty McSorley owes $500 to winning goaltender Jamie Storr and backup Byron Dafoe.
"I owe Yanic $500, I shouldn't have passed it to him," Tocchet said, laughing.
The Kings are 2-0-3 in overtime, and Tocchet set up Perreault in similar fashion for the game-winner in overtime against Chicago on Oct. 10. He keeps telling Perreault to go to the far post when he is trying a wraparound and reminded him again after the second period.
"We talked about it again," said Perreault, who has four goals and nine points. "I wanted my backhand, the goalie was going to the other side."
For Storr, a 19-year-old rookie, the victory was a major confidence boost. He hadn't played since a shaky performance against Vancouver on Oct. 12 when he allowed four goals on 18 shots, including three between the pads.
But he got the start when Dafoe's leg stiffened after the Washington game. King Coach Larry Robinson gave him a pep talk about his mental game, and goaltending consultant Don Edwards flew here to discuss technique.
"I was lucky because I got a chance to get my thoughts together," said Storr, who faced 26 shots. "When you lose your confidence, your mind goes everywhere."
Robinson had been concerned that Storr was almost too blase, saying: "I was trying to pump him up. He seems too easygoing. I'd like to see more fire in him."
That doesn't seem to be a problem with the others. Robinson was particularly pleased with defenseman Sean O'Donnell and McSorley, as well as the comeback from a two-goal deficit. Last season, the Kings failed to win the second game when they played games on consecutive nights, going 0-6-1.
Nevertheless, Robinson has remained composed during the streak.
"It's always a thrill to win, and, believe me, I like to win as much as anyone," he said. "There's nothing better than winning. But reality sets in and there's a game Monday in Montreal."