It seemed like a one-off.
Goalie Peter Budaj joined the Kings on an emergency recall basis last season when Jonathan Quick was injured in February and he won his first start, in overtime, and at Madison Square Garden, no less.
That was February. Flash forward to Thursday and Budaj still hasn't lost a game for the Kings. Just call him Mr. Overtime.
The Kings scored twice on the power play and Jeff Carter scored with 28.1 seconds left in overtime to defeat the Nashville Predators, 3-2, at Staples Center. It was their fourth straight victory since opening the season 0-3-0.
For Budaj, filling in during a far-longer stretch for the injured Quick, it was his fifth consecutive win for the Kings, including the one victory from last season against the New York Rangers. This was the fourth straight overtime game for the Kings this season.
Scoring for the Kings were defenseman Jake Muzzin, his first of the season, and winger Tyler Toffoli, his second. Defenseman Alec Martinez, who has scored twice in overtime this season, added two assists.
Nashville was looking for a bit of redemption after suffering a 6-1 loss to the Ducks on Wednesday night. The Predators had allowed three power-play goals and two short-handed goals to the Ducks.
But this was a tight-checking game — 0-0 after one period and 1-1 after two — and finally opened up some in the third as the teams traded goals in a span of 41 seconds.
The Predators scored on a short-handed effort with winger Viktor Arvidsson converting a two-on-one, beating Budaj between the legs at 1:00 of the third, taking a 2-1 lead.
Nashville's lead didn't even last a minute as the Kings fought back with a power-play goal at 1:41, by Toffoli, who scored his second of the season. Toffoli was opportunistic, taking advantage after a clearing effort went off the pad of Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.
Special teams was the theme of the night.
Just like that, the Kings power play flickered to life. They started the season going two for 14 on the man advantage — and went 0 for 7 in back-to-back losses to Philadelphia and Minnesota.
Those days seem like a distance distant memory.
The Kings are finding ways to handle injury-induced adversity and the influx of new players. Though Kings forward Nic Dowd, who had two assists against Nashville, played in five games last season for the Kings, this happens to be his longest sustained stretch in the lineup.
Defenseman Tom Gilbert, signed as a free agent, is making an impact, too.
"It wasn't a hard adjustment," Gilbert said after Thursday's morning skate. "The guys in this locker room and the way that they play: they play the system really well. It's a pretty easy transition."
He was asked whether it was easier in Los Angeles.
"I guess you would say that — it's a little more simple. It's actually really simple," Gilbert said. "Guys in the locker room are smart. They think the game really well. Guys are always in the right spot. So it makes it easier for a new guy coming in."
Gilbert combined with Kings center Anze Kopitar on a particularly nice passing play in Tuesday's win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He chuckled when it was suggested that Kopitar makes them all a little smarter.
"He's on a whole new level, right. He sees the ice so well and creates so much time and space," Gilbert said.