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Kings defeat Blue Jackets; Bobrovsky injured

by Craig Merz / NHL.com

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets lost their goaltender, the lead and then the game on Tuesday.

Sergei Bobrovsky exited with an undisclosed injury, and Alec Martinez scored with 27 seconds left in overtime to give the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 victory at Nationwide Arena for their fifth straight win.

Columbus coach John Tortorella said he won't know the extent of the injury to Bobrovsky until further evaluation on Wednesday.

The Blue Jackets (11-16-2) were leading 2-1 with 5:35 left in the third when Bobrovsky left the game. He made 33 saves.

"You hope he's OK," Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson said. "It's something at that point where you're more concerned with the hockey game. We still had a few minutes left. It was kind of surprising."

Play had stopped when Bobrovsky signaled to a referee that he needed a trainer. After being attended to, he went to the dressing room.

After slow start to the season, Bobrovsky had a 9-4-1 record with a 1.71 goals against average and a .943 save percentage since Nov. 1 prior to his ninth consecutive start Tuesday. He has allowed two or fewer goals in 11 of 12 games, including seven in a row.

Bobrovsky was replaced by Curtis McElhinney, who had not played since Nov. 19. He was immediately under fire when Jeff Carter's shot hit the left post.

Carter, who previous played for the Blue Jackets, didn't miss with 1:27 left in the third period when he got his 11th goal to tie the score 2-2 while the Kings had an extra attacker.

"This group, for the most part has been together for a long time," Martinez said. "We've been in our share of one-goal games. We feel comfortable with them."

McElhinney made five saves.

Scott Hartnell and Matt Calvert scored for Columbus. Christian Ehrhoff scored for Los Angeles, and Jonathan Quick made 21 saves.

"Good teams find a way to win, especially when you're up by a goal," Columbus right wing Cam Atkinson said. "Obviously with [Bobrovsky] going down, [McElhinney] stepped up big for us. He got us to overtime. I wish it never got there, but it is what it is. We got one point out of it and have to move on."

Los Angeles (18-8-1) controlled play in overtime, and outshot Columbus 41-23 in the game.

"That was men against boys tonight. We should be embarrassed. I am. I am," Tortorella said. "Obviously, I'm not doing a good enough job to get the team ready in these type of situations. I'm totally embarrassed by the way we played."

The winning goal started with Los Angeles right wing Dustin Brown looking for a passing lane.

"That's what it's all about, holding onto the puck and waiting for your opportunities," he said. "I thought we did a pretty good job. I thought we had the puck the whole time, they one little rush there."

Brown found Nick Shore low in the left faceoff circle and Shore sent a pass back the other way for a one-timer by Martinez.

"The name of the game in 3-on-3 is puck possession," Martinez said. "It's a lot of fun when you get your opportunities. If you don't get the puck, it's the worst. I just had to put it backdoor. Those two guys did all the work. I ended up being at the right spot."

Columbus took a 2-0 lead in the second period on goals by Hartnell and Calvert before Ehrhoff scored for the Kings. Ehrhoff's second goal of the season was unassisted, but the Kings' relentless forecheck was the catalyst.

It forced Columbus defenseman David Savard to attempt a bank shot of the left wall to relieve the pressure, but Ehrhoff took it at the blue line and beat Bobrovsky through traffic at 17:38.

Hartnell's second power-play goal in as many games gave Columbus a 1-0 lead at 2:32 of the second.

Calvert's fourth goal was off a breakout pass through the neutral zone by Brandon Saad at 14:17. Calvert took the pass in stride on the right wing and handcuffed Quick, who got a piece of the shot with his glove but could not stop it.

"I don't think we should have been down 2-0," Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said. "We played well enough to be leading after one and leading after two and we still could have won it regulation."

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