Kings let lead slip away late to fall to Devils in overtime

New Jersey Devils' Ondrej Palat fights for control of the puck with Kings' Phillip Danault.
New Jersey Devils’ Ondrej Palat (18) fights for control of the puck with Kings’ Phillip Danault (24) during the first period on Thursday in Newark, N.J.
(Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

Red-hot Dawson Mercer scored his second goal of the game 2:30 into overtime and the New Jersey Devils rallied late to beat the Kings 4-3 on Thursday night.

Of the Devils’ 38 wins, an NHL-high 21 have come after trailing. Seven have been in games when New Jersey was behind by multiple goals. Chicago has also won seven times when trailing by more than one.

“I think obviously you can say we’re never out of it,” said Mercer, who has seven goals during his career-high five-game goal streak. “We’ve got a talented group in here, a team that plays with that speed, and we’re never out of a game. I think we can create constant pressure.”


Tomas Tatar and Nico Hischier also scored for the Devils. Hischier netted the tying goal with 38 seconds left in regulation, and Vitek Vanecek had 19 saves.

Anze Kopitar, Viktor Arvidsson and defenseman Sean Durzi scored for Los Angeles. Pheonix Copley made 27 saves.

“We’ll take the one [point] we got,“ Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “There’s not a lot of teams that come into this building or play against that team that leave with points. On the other side of it, it is disappointing that we couldn’t get the last 30 seconds done.”

Hischier tied it when he tipped Jack Hughes’ shot past Copley with the Devils’ net empty.

Mercer tipped a pass by Dougie Hamilton past Copley for the game-winner.

“When you’re out there with pretty good players like Dougie and Jack, and if they have the puck, I want to make sure I get myself open and Dougie found me and it went in the back of the net,” said Mercer, who has a career-high 18 goals — two more than he scored as a rookie last season.

Durzi put the Kings ahead 3-2 with 4:19 to play in the third period. He skated in from the left point, took a pass from Kopitar and beat Vanecek for his seventh goal of the season.

Mercer and Tatar had rallied the Devils from a two-goal deficit, setting each other up for goals late in the second period and early in the third.


Mercer, who hit the post in the first period, tied it 2:23 into the third, taking a drop pass from Tatar and beating Copley from the right circle.

Pheonix Copley made 18 saves, Anze Kopitar scored as the Kings opened a five-game trip with a 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.

Feb. 21, 2023

The Devils are 9-3 in games decided during the three-on-three overtime.

“Their speed can kill people five on five,” McLellan said. “So imagine taking two players off the ice surface. They’re extremely skilled and talented and their offensive players may not be the biggest guys, but they can slither and slide off checks and change pace and escape. That’s probably the reason why they’re winning most of those.”

Kopitar and Arvidsson staked the Kings to a 2-0 lead in the first period.

Kopitar opened the scoring at 7:24, beating Vanecek on a breakaway by rolling a slow shot between his legs for his 20th. The Kings’ captain has goals in four straight games.

Arvidsson got his 17th of the season a little more than four minutes later on a two-on-one rush. with Kevin Fiala. Vanecek stopped Fiala’s shot but Arvidsson put the rebound into an open net.