LOS ANGELES –– The Kings seemed to hit the right notes in the third period, to overcome a deficit in the second break and to take a lead and power play in the last minute of the game on Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues in the Staples to bring center.
But St. Louis defender Torey Krug changed the pace and time at the Kings with an equalizer in the final moments of regulation, and the Kings needed exciting overtime and a chess game of a shootout – five goals were scored -, to with a 3-2 win.
The Kings’ undefeated streak reached three games, the longest since six games last February.
Wingers Arthur Kaliyev and Adrian Kempe scored for the Kings, and winger Alex Iafallo extended his points streak to four games with one assist. Goalkeeper Jonathan Quick was sharp overall and shot 33 shots.
Krug and former Kings striker Brayden Schenn scored for St. Louis and Jordan Binnington made 33 saves.
In extra time, the Kings dominated possession and carried the game, but to no avail. Kempe had two strong chances, center Anze Kopitar had a great view of a partial breakaway group and center Phillip Danault almost won the game with a one-timer from a two-on-one rush just four seconds before the penalty shoot-out.
There were only eight seconds left when Krug arrived in a chaotic scene in which winger Vladimir Tarasenko scored a rebound that winger Jordan Kyrou blocked with one blow before an opportunistic pitcher zoomed in on point to take the puck over Quick and lift it into the net.
7.45 a.m. before the end, Iafallo almost blocked a pass from Kempe behind the net. Binningtons pad thwarted his shot at close range, but Iafallo picked up the rebound, went behind the net and whipped a pass to a storming Kempe ahead for a tap-in goal.
At 6:16 the Kings had equalized the score with 1 with an outburst of offensive creativity that had not been seen in the game up to this point. Defender Kale Clague stretched the ice with a blue line to blue line pass that put Kaliyev on the offensive. Kaliyev’s sniper from the left circle struck a dejected Binnington up to the near side. Kaliyev has scored two goals this season, both without Clague’s main assists.
At around 4:30 a.m. in the third period, striker Trevor Moore broke the offensive monotony for the Kings with a takeaway that turned into a partial breakaway. The following possession gave him a close-range chance and his productive shift brought momentum to life.
The Kings finished the second period with power play opportunities, but the lone chance they gave St. Louis gave the Blues the lead.
Iafallo almost extended his streak to three games in a power play that ended the period. Winger Brandon Saad had run out of the onslaught in Quick, and from the resulting draw the Kings created a rebound just inches from Iafallo’s reach of an open net before it was brought to safety.
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The Kings had caused some commotion earlier in the period when winger Dustin Brown drew a penalty when it hit the net. In the power game that followed, they were unable to convert or even hit the net.
In between, St. Louis opened the scoring and the power play with ruthless efficiency. Schenn won the pass cleanly in front of defender Torey Krug, who prepared Tarasenko for a slap shot from the top right circle. Schenn, who curled up behind winger Pavel Buchnevich to get into the goal unmarked, was wide open to catch the rebound. Everything unfolded in about five seconds.
The first third passed with a few whistles and without a goal, which was partly ensured by Quick’s athletic glove, which fended off Tarasenko’s one-time hit from the right circle only earned style points. Blake Lizotte drew a penalty just 60 yards from the St. Louis net, but the resulting power play resulted in a single, easy-to-stop shot on goal.
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