did it again.
With the score knotted at three with less than a minute remaining in the Championship game at the Red Bull Salute Invitational Tournament in Salzburg, Austria, Kopitar tallied the game-winning goal - for the second straight night - to lead the Kings to a 4-3 victory over Farjestads BK.
Kopitar was named the tournament’s MVP, scoring 4-1=5 in the two games with both game-winning goals.
“It was great to play well in front of my family and friends. When they are in the crowd you get a little extra boost,” said Kopitar, who grew up in Jesenice, Slovenia, located about two-and-a-half hours away from Salzburg. “We feel good about the win. The fans just expected us to come in here and win because we are from the NHL...but we played some good opponents and it was tough. In our locker room, we knew it would be tough.”
Kopitar controlled the puck in the center of the ice and had a bit of a breakaway, putting a shot on goal from about 17 feet out that Jonas Gustavsson was able to stop with the rebound loose in front of the net.
Still following his shot and being pulled down from behind, Kopitar corralled the puck and scored the winner from his back.
Despite the two teams going scoreless in the first period, the Kings, for the second straight night, faced an early deficit as Farjestads BK took a 2-0 lead in the second period.
Both goals came off deflections.
The first was credited to Eero Somervuori as he and Per Aslund did a little give and go and the puck bounced off of Somervuori and into the net past Jonathan Bernier
. Former King Esa Pirnes was also credited with an assist on the play.
The second goal was your basic redirect of a slap shot on the power play when Emil Kaberg got his stick on a Jen Skalber slapper and past Bernier for a quick 2-0 lead. The two goals were scored in a 46-second span.
So like that, the Kings faced a 2-0 deficit, but like yesterday where the Crownshirts came back from 3-0 and 5-4 deficits, the Kings quickly rallied back. Patrick O’Sullivan put the Kings on the board at the 6:20 mark on a 3-on-1 rush and just put a laser of a slap shot on net over the shoulder of Gustavsson to cut the deficit in half.
Lubomir Visnovsky tied the score on a brilliant slap shot of his own, with Kyle Calder earning the assist on the play at 7:42. Brian Willsie provided a screen in front of the net, which was reviewed before being awarded a goal.
Farjestads recaptured the lead, scoring on a 6-on-5 in which the goalie was pulled after the Kings committed a penalty. Jesper Mattsson threaded a cross-ice pass to the stick of Mathias Johansson and it was 3-2.
The score remained the same until Michael Cammalleri juked Gustavsson to tie the score at 6:32 of the third.
The Kings out-shot Farjestad, 51-32 on the night, with Gustavsson taking the loss, despite stopping 47-of-51 shots, while Jason LaBarbera earned the win with 14 saves on 15 shots. Bernier started and stopped 15-of-17 pucks before being lifted in the second.
Farjestad finished 1-of-7 on the power play while the kings went 0-for-7. Thomas LaRocca LAKings.com