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Kings erase late deficit, down Rangers in OT

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES – Returning home from a marvelous pair of games on the road, the Kings flipped the switch on their method of winning in Thursday night’s 4-3 OT victory over the New York Rangers at STAPLES Center.

There was no early lead, and there certainly was no time for late-game cruising; this time around, the Kings erased a two-goal third period deficit to top the Rangers in overtime for the second time this season.

“I guess the last couple of games we’ve had the lead and really brought it home with not a whole lot of pressure, but you know tonight, it was the other way around,” said Anze Kopitar, who netted both the evening’s tying and winning goals with a pair of redirections in front of New York’s net.

The Rangers scored the night’s opening goal when J.T. Miller beat Jonathan Quick with a shot high to the blocker side 11:43 minutes into the contest.

The Kings answered on the ensuing shift when Dustin Brown scored his third goal in as many games. Brown, possessing the puck in the Rangers’ zone, fought off tight pressure to find the time and space to fire a shot that beat Henrik Lundqvist with Jeff Carter providing the screen.

Dan Boyle gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead with 6:55 left to play in the second when he beat Jonathan Quick with a shot high to the blocker side after pouncing on a Kings turnover.

Kevin Hayes extended the Rangers’ lead to 3-1 in the early moments of the third when his shot deflected off the skate of Luke Schenn and past a sprawling Quick.

Two minutes after Hayes’s marker, Kyle Clifford scored his second goal of the season to inch the Kings back to within a goal. Jeff Carter, after receiving a pass on the goal-line to the right of Lundqvist’s net, spun and fed a backhand pass to Clifford, who slammed the puck into an open net.

With just over four minutes remaining in regulation, Anze Kopitar got a piece of a Milan Lucic point shot, tying the game 3-3, ultimately sending the Kings to their 18th overtime game of the season.

1:34 minutes into overtime, after winning a faceoff in New York’s zone, Jake Muzzin fired a slap shot from just inside the blue-line which Anze Kopitar redirected past Lundqvist to give the Kings a 4-3 win.

The Kings are now 13-5 in games that extend past regulation this season and have an NHL-best eight wins when trailing a game entering the third period.

Jeff Carter (3A) led all Kings players in points scored (3), Jake Muzzin in shots taken (6), Kyle Clifford in hits delivered (7), Jake Muzzin in shots blocked (4), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (26:30). Jonathan Quick made 23 saves in the win.

The Kings will close out their home stand Saturday night when they host the Boston Bruins at STAPLES Center, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 7:30 PM PT.

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