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Gaborik's shootout goal lifts Kings past Penguins

by Wes Crosby /

PITTSBURGH -- Marian Gaborik made sure Jonathan Quick won his goaltending duel against Marc-Andre Fleury on Friday.

Gaborik scored in the fourth round of the shootout, giving Quick and the Los Angeles Kings a 3-2 victory against Fleury and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Gaborik gave the Kings their sixth consecutive win when he snapped a shot past Fleury's glove to end the game.

Fleury and Quick each allowed a goal in the first round of the tiebreaker, then made two saves. Quick stopped Nick Bonino in the fourth round before Gaborik beat Fleury.

Quick made 40 saves, including one that denied Phil Kessel on a breakaway with 1:27 remaining in overtime. Fleury finished with 38 saves.

"I think we had opportunities to go up by two," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "Both goalies were the reason it was 2-2 going into the shootout."

"[Quick] was outstanding. Both goalies were," Gaborik said. "He was great out there and stopped a lot of pucks, obviously."

Los Angeles (19-8-1) defeated the Penguins for the second time in a week and handed Pittsburgh (15-10-3) its third loss in four games.

"We've been fortunate this year that we've been winning in overtime and shootouts [more] compared to last year, which is huge," Gaborik said. "I think it was a pretty game to watch for the fans. First period, we were strong. We got up 1-0. Then [in the] second period, they took over. We were sloppy. Third period, again we got up 2-1 there and had some good looks. They tied it up late but we were able to find a way to win."

The Penguins forced overtime when forward Evgeni Malkin tied the game 2-2 with 1:10 remaining in the third period. David Perron put a shot into the crease and Chris Kunitz whacked at the loose puck, which was at the feet of Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin, before Malkin dove to backhand the puck past Quick on his 10th shot on goal. It was Malkin's 13th goal of the season.

"Tonight, it was a good game for us," Malkin said. "We lose in the shootout, but I think it was a very good game for us. Of course, we had mistakes, but I'm happy with how the team played tonight.

The Kings broke a 1-1 tie 34 seconds into the third period, three seconds after a penalty to Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta expired, Drew Doughty fed defense partner Muzzin, who dropped to one knee as he sent a slap shot from the right circle through traffic and past Fleury for his third goal of the season.

Los Angeles led 1-0 late in the second period when Kings forward Jeff Carter slashed the back of Malkin's leg during a Penguins power play. A scrum ensued that resulted in Malkin, Carter and Los Angeles defenseman Brayden McNabb being sent to the penalty box at 16:05, giving Pittsburgh a 5-on-3 advantage for 22 seconds.

Kessel thought he scored after he redirected a shot from Sidney Crosby that went past Quick just after the 5-on-3 expired, but his attempt went off the left post. Pittsburgh had a few more chances, but Quick denied each before Maatta was called for hooking, leading to 4-on-4 hockey with 1:29 left.

"We had a couple good chances [on the power play]," Malkin said. "Phil shoots the post, you know? It's a little bit of bad luck, but I think if we work, we'll start scoring. I know it."

Penguins forward Eric Fehr tied the game 14 seconds later when he took Matt Cullen's pass from below the goal line and beat Quick from the lower right circle.

Kings forward Tanner Pearson opened the scoring 7:34 into the game. He deked around Penguins defenseman Ian Cole on his way into the offensive zone and avoided defenseman David Warsofsky's stick before sending a wrist shot from the lower left circle under Fleury's right arm. It was his fourth goal of the season and first in 11 games.

The Penguins returned home after finishing a 12-day road trip with a 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. Coach Mike Johnston said he was impressed with his team's effort, considering the circumstances.

"I thought the last few games, they've been pretty emotional games," Johnston said. "Sometimes coming off a long road trip, you worry about your team a little bit. We talked about it this morning. I thought our guys were really focused tonight. Those were two very good teams out there on the ice.

"For me, as I said earlier today, they're, what I've seen, the best in the West. They're right there with Dallas as the best in the West, and they're a hard team to play against."

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