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What we learned from the Kings' 3-2 overtime victory over San Jose

What we learned from the Kings' 3-2 overtime victory over San Jose
Kings left wing Ilya Kovalchuk (17) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the first period on Dec. 22. (Tony Avelar / Associated Press)

This felt like a case of too little, too late

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That was quite a performance the Kings staged in taking a 2-0 lead over San Jose in the third period and eventually winning in overtime. They scored on the power play — almost as rare as an eclipse — and they didn’t get discouraged after Austin Wagner was injured, or after a borderline goaltender interference call wiped out an apparent goal by Oscar Fantenberg.

Ilya Kovalchuk scored twice, which is what they’re paying him $18.75 million to do — at least when coach Willie Desjardins isn’t stapling him to the bench. Everyone did their jobs efficiently and well. That Kings team hasn’t shown up often this season, but it showed up to beat two quality opponents this week, Winnipeg on Tuesday and San Jose on Saturday.

“Those are good teams. And this is a tough building,” Desjardins said before the team left SAP Center to fly to Las Vegas for Sunday’s game against the Golden Knights. “It’s good to get these wins but the bottom line is they’re all going to be hard. Every night we get an opponent, they seem to be great. We have to be on top of our game.”

Ilya Kovalchuk can play

Not Anze Kopitar-type minutes, but he can be effective in spots. In addition to his power-play goal he had at least one other good scoring chance. His shot hasn’t lost any of its bite.

“He works hard off the ice. He’s excited for every shift. He’s excited to get out there,” Desjardins said. “It was nice to get a power-play goal early, too. We haven’t been scoring on that.”

Winger Alex Iafallo agreed that Kovalchuk had been a catalyst and a leader by example. “He was flying today. That gives us momentum,” Iafallo said. “He’s got a pretty good shot and he proved it today.”

Maybe the third time is the charm

The Kings haven’t had a three-game winning streak yet this season. They’ve won two straight twice — Nov. 3 over Columbus and Nov. 6 over the Ducks — and Nov. 25 against the Edmonton Oilers and Nov. 27 at Vancouver — but winning three straight has proved too difficult. Their game on Sunday against the Golden Knights is their third chance to climb that mountain.

Again, it’s probably too little, too late and likely won’t mean anything as far as making the playoffs, but their last two games have been among the best they’ve played this season and they’re at least showing pride and perseverance.

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