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Kings win 5th straight, keep Penguins from clinching

by Wes Crosby

PITTSBURGH -- The Los Angeles Kings extended their winning streak to five games while keeping the Pittsburgh Penguins from clinching a Stanley Cup Playoffs berth.

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty scored the game-winning goal in the third period of a 3-2 victory Thursday at Consol Energy Center, the Penguins' third loss in a row.

Dustin Brown dropped a pass to Doughty at the point, where he slapped a shot past goalie Jeff Zatkoff's blocker for his ninth goal of the season and a 3-2 lead 3:51 into the third.

Penguins forward Brandon Sutter appeared to tie the game midway through the period when he pushed the puck past Kings goaltender Martin Jones while being pushed from behind by Doughty before the net was knocked off its moorings. The play was reviewed and, as the crowd began a "Goal" chant, it was ruled that Sutter interfered with Jones and the goal was disallowed with 10:19 remaining.

"That was clear interference. [Sutter] pushed [Jones'] pad right into the net," Doughty said. "Yeah, I gave him a few shots from behind, but that had nothing to do with his stick and pushing [Jones] into the net. So, it was a great call by the refs and people in Toronto."

Sutter saw the play differently.

"I was pretty surprised," he said. "I just thought the puck came through the crease and I was just trying to jam away at it and it was loose the whole time. I definitely got pushed into the net and the puck went off of me somehow.

"I have no idea how they didn't call it a goal."

Los Angeles, which tied a franchise record with its eighth consecutive road win, is in third place in the Pacific Division with 92 points. Pittsburgh, which needed one point to clinch a playoff spot, is 11 points ahead of the New York Rangers at the top of the Metropolitan Division.

The Penguins' NHL-best power play was 0-for-7.

"Special teams is a key to every game, and when you say it's a key, you're even or plus on special teams," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "If you're minus, you're on a different side of it. We've been a minus many times in the last handful of games."

Trailing by two, Pittsburgh scored twice in the second period to tie the game but lost third-line center Marcel Goc.

Goc left the game in the final minute of the period after apparently injuring his left foot or ankle in a collision with Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin that sent him into the boards behind the Los Angeles net. The Penguins are without second-line center Evgeni Malkin, who missed his second game with a foot injury.

Bylsma said Goc sustained a lower-body injury. He has two assists in 12 games with Pittsburgh.

Alec Martinez gave the Kings a 2-0 lead by scoring just as a penalty to Penguins forward Tanner Glass expired. Martinez slapped a shot past Zatkoff for his 10th goal of the season 6:59 into the period.

Chris Kunitz scored his 33rd goal of the season 34 seconds later to make it 2-1. Sidney Crosby threw the puck to the net from the left boards, and Jayson Megna tapped the puck off of Jones' pads. The rebound went through the crease, and Kunitz tipped the puck into the upper-right corner of the net at 7:33.

A shot from Taylor Pyatt went off of Jones' shoulder and over his head before crossing the goal line to tie the game 2-2 with 4:18 left in the period.

Matt Niskanen had a chance to give the Penguins their first lead seconds into Pittsburgh's fifth power play when he snapped a shot toward the net with Jones out of position. But Jones stretched to his right and made a blocker save to preserve the tie.

Jones, who made 35 saves, said he was determined to deny a third second-period goal.

"We had the two-goal lead there [to start the second] and I just wanted to make sure we didn't give up any more," Jones said. "I was disappointed in giving up the two goals. I thought they were both stoppable goals, but at the end of the day, we made enough saves and played well enough defensively in the third to get the win."

Pittsburgh limited Los Angeles' chances through much of the first period, but the Kings scored the lone goal.

The Kings had four shots through the game's first 13:31, when Niskanen was called for interference. Jeff Carter scored on Los Angeles' fourth shot of the power play.

Forward Marian Gaborik wristed a shot from the point into traffic and Carter rose his stick to deflect the puck past Zatkoff. The goal was reviewed, but it was ruled Carter's stick was below the crossbar and he was awarded his 26th goal of the season with 4:37 remaining in the first period.

The Kings finished their three-game road trip with wins against Pittsburgh, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals. Los Angeles has not lost on the road since Jan. 28, when the Kings lost to the Phoenix Coyotes.

"They're all such good buildings and good teams," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "All three teams are in different places in their standings, so if you can get six points you take it."

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