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Hockey

Tanner Pearson’s overtime goal lifts Kings past Wild

Tanner Pearson plays hero again in Kings’ 4-3 overtime win over the Wild
Minnesota Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper reacts moments after Kings winger Tanner Pearson scored an overtime goal at Staples Center on Saturday.
(Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

This time the Kings hit the reset button and it worked. 

They hit it following an uninspiring loss to the Red Wings on Thursday. They hit it after allowing two first-period goals to the Wild on Saturday. And they hit it once more when the Wild knotted the score at 3 with 42.1 seconds left in regulation, which foiled the Kings’ afternoon until Tanner Pearson deflected an Alec Martinez pass past Darcy Kuemper and into the back of the net. 

Pearson’s overtime winner, his second in three games, delivered a 4-3 win over the Wild (24-10-4) at the Staples Center. It also gave the Kings (20-16-4) more than three goals for the first time since Dec. 22. 

Jeff Carter stayed hot with a goal and two assists and Drew Doughty collected two assists. The pair led an effort — supplemented by goals from Marian Gaborik, Jake Muzzin and Pearson in the end — that erased another flat first period. 

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“We’re a good team when we play the right way and when we don’t, we’re not that good,” Muzzin said. “We got our act together in between periods and we came out with the right attitude in the second, and it showed.”

The Wild built their early two-goal lead on Kings miscues. The first came when Mikko Koivu took a Muzzin turnover and beat Peter Budaj, and the second on a falling-down shot by Charlie Coyle that nicked Budaj before trickling in.  

Kings Coach Darryl Sutter called a 30-second timeout to stop the bleeding just 7:27 into the game. Sutter said he colorfully described the Wild’s two goals in the huddle in front of the bench. The Kings had been outscored, 6-0, in the four periods since winning in San Jose on Tuesday and now faced a steep task against the Western Conference’s second-best team. 

They could either slog toward another lopsided loss or return to the ice with renewed energy. They chose the latter. 

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“Emotions?” Carter said when asked what the team was feeling in the first period. “Pissed off, I don’t know. You’re down, 2-0, on plays that probably shouldn’t have happened.”

The Kings scratched at the surface for the rest of the first before breaking through in the second. Carter beat Kuemper for his 22nd goal — Kuemper gave Devan Dubnyk a day off — and then assisted on Gaborik’s second goal of the season nearly four minutes later. 

Gaborik ducked past Wild defenseman Ryan Suter and fired a backhand shot into Kuemper’s stick. But the puck shot into the air, bounced off Suter’s helmet and snuck in. The tie held until Muzzin rocketed in a power-play goal 54 seconds into the third period. Then the Kings’ one-goal lead held until the final minute of regulation. 

With the net empty and Doughty in the penalty box, the Wild turned a six-on-four advantage into a deflating goal from Zach Parise. The Kings slowly skated off the ice before overtime but still had five minutes to score.

They only needed three minutes and 32 seconds. Pearson’s winner gave him 11 goals on the year and made the Kings 8-1 in overtime decisions. It also snapped a troubling trend. 

The Kings didn’t have to again reach for the reset button. This time they could celebrate. 

“We faced a little adversity,” Sutter said. “We’ve seen it before this year but they bounced back.”

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jesse.dougherty@latimes.com

Twitter: @dougherty_jesse


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