The do-over was a doozy.
For the second straight game, the Kings put on a furious rally in the final seconds, only this time it resulted in a win — against the best team in the Western Conference at Staples Center.
Dustin Brown, whose score-tying goal was disallowed on Saturday, delivered in overtime to complete a comeback from two goals down. The Kings’ 3-2 win against the Vegas Golden Knights pulled them into the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference, if only for a day.
Here’s what we learned:
This has the makings of a divisional rivalry. There were chants of “Let’s Go Vegas” that were quickly shouted down by Kings fans. Tough guys Kyle Clifford and Ryan Reaves engaged in some nastiness after Clifford felled Oscar Lindberg in the first period. Drew Doughty got into it with David Perron.
This was only the third game between the teams, but they are in each other’s kitchen and the last period took on a playoff feel.
“Not only from the play on the ice, but the crowd and the atmosphere … you could almost feel that goal at the end to tie it coming with the pressure,” Tyler Toffoli said. “It’s really nice to get that win but now we’ve got to move on” to Tuesday’s rematch.
The Kings defense has been sloppy. Christian Folin turned the puck over to give Vegas a scoring chance. So did Dion Phaneuf while going back to retrieve the puck.
The Kings’ defensive unit won’t put the past two games on a mantle. Even Doughty had perhaps his worst game of the season Saturday. The Kings committed 15 giveaways against Vegas, following 14 giveaways against the Edmonton Oilers.
It’s a disconcerting turn at Game 63. Missed passes. Bad breakouts. The Kings need to take better care of the puck, and it might be time to give Paul LaDue or Kevin Gravel a look in the second half of a back-to-back set.
What more do we say about Jonathan Quick? Remember when he went through an ugly stretch in January, losing six of seven games before he withdrew from the All-Star game?
Quick was back to his game-saving self. The Kings wouldn’t have been in position to tie it if not for his pad save on James Neal in the beginning and glove save on William Karlsson late. Quick made 37 saves, 20 of which came in the third period and overtime.
The luxury of Darcy Kuemper is no longer available. So it will have to be mostly Quick at the top of his game the rest of the way, and Monday was the latest indication that he’s back.