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Adrian Kempe, Anze Kopitar lead Kings to comeback win over Blues in OT

The Kings' Adrian Kempe, top middle, celebrates with teammates after scoring the winning overtime goal March 6, 2021.
The Kings’ Adrian Kempe, top middle, celebrates with teammates after scoring the winning overtime goal Saturday night at Staples Center. The Kings beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Adrian Kempe scored 1:45 into overtime, Anze Kopitar had two goals and an assist, and the Kings rallied for a 4-3 win against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night at Staples Center.

Kempe scored off a pass from Gabriel Vilardi to cap a three-on-one rush and end the Kings’ four-game losing streak after they trailed by three goals in the first period.

Matt Luff scored and Jonathan Quick made 22 saves for the Kings, who had not overcome a three-goal deficit to win since Dec. 18, 2014.

“Now, let’s face it, it’s not going to happen many nights when you score four in a row against a team like that and come back, but we were fortunate tonight to regain our game and that allowed us a chance,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said.

David Perron had a goal and an assist for the Blues, whose four-game winning streak ended. Jordan Binnington made 30 saves.

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“Obviously, we would have liked to have two [points], but you got to be able to try to close those games out,” said Blues forward Brayden Schenn, who had two assists. “But at the end of the day, I guess we’ll take a point.”

Highlights from the Kings’ 4-3 overtime win over the visiting St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.

The opening period looked as if it would encapsulate how the Blues and Kings had been trending in opposite directions. St. Louis came into the game with the NHL’s best road record, while the Kings had been in free fall since a six-game winning streak made their stated goal of reaching the playoffs seem possible.

But the Kings fought back, starting with Kopitar’s goal at 13:08 of the first. He scored on the power play at 18:09 of the second and set up Luff’s goal to tie it at 3 with 10.5 seconds left in the period.

“No one man does it by himself, but when your top player or players decide that they got to reel a game back in and do it the right way, it’s real easy to follow,” McLellan said of Kopitar, who has two goals and five assists in his last four games. “When the alpha decides to play the right way, everybody else follows, and that’s tremendous leadership shown by him and a few others tonight.”

Picking up where they left off Friday after rallying for a 3-2 overtime win, the Blues blitzed the Kings with three goals in 11:05 of the first period. Perron scored on a one-timer from the left circle after he and Schenn caught the Kings in transition 25 seconds into the game.

Ryan Getzlaf scores in overtime to lift the Anaheim Ducks to a 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche and end the team’s nine-game losing streak.

The Kings have allowed the opening goal in 15 of their 23 games this season.

Nathan Walker made it 2-0 at 4:38, finding himself alone at the right post for a tap in from Sammy Blais off another St. Louis rush. Ryan O’Reilly then scored on the power play.

“I think the turning point was the intermission in the first period when we decided that we couldn’t play a track meet-style game against that team,“ McLellan said. “There’s a tendency to want to go and just open it up. I don’t blame the players for wanting that, bur for us to have success, we got to play tight, we got to play along the boards. We’ve got to check our way to wins.”

Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko was a minus-2 and played 16:25 in his first regular-season game since Oct. 24, 2019, when he dislocated his left shoulder against the Kings. Tarasenko returned to play in two seeding games and two playoff games when the NHL season restarted before aggravating the injury, leading to surgery in August. It was the third surgery on his shoulder since April 2018 for the five-time 30-goal scorer.

The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Assn.’s progress has been slowed by the pandemic, but the ‘Dream Gap’ tour injects the effort with hope.

“It’s always bad when you come back from a long time [off] and you lose, but it was some time to rethink everything in this life,” Tarasenko said. “It’s a privilege to be in the locker room, be able to play. I missed that, and nice to be out there with the guys again, feel that atmosphere, feel the game.”

Blues center Oskar Sundqvist did not play after sustaining an undisclosed injury Friday.

Up next

The Kings visit the Ducks on Monday for the first of a two-game set.


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