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game recap

Kopitar's OT goal lifts Kings past Rangers

Los Angeles rallies from two-goal deficit in third period

by Curtis Zupke / Correspondent

Kopitar's overtime winner

NYR@LAK: Kopitar tips OT winner past Lundqvist

3/17/16: Anze Kopitar tips home Jake Muzzin's slap shot for his second goal of the night, winning the game for the Kings in overtime

  • 01:10 •

LOS ANGELES -- Anze Kopitar came up big in one of the Los Angeles Kings' biggest comebacks this season.

Kopitar scored at 1:34 of overtime to give the Kings a come-from-behind 4-3 win against the New York Rangers at Staples Center on Thursday. 

Kopitar won an offensive-zone faceoff and went to the net to deflect defenseman Jake Muzzin's shot into the net for his second goal of the game and 24th of the season. The Kings (43-22-5) erased a 3-1 third-period deficit and are 5-0-1 in their past six games, including victories against the Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars and Rangers in a four-day span.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game," Kopitar said. "To come back like we did in the third, it shows the character, again, that we have in this room. It's definitely a nice a little boost for our hockey club."

Video: NYR@LAK: Kopitar tips home game-tying goal in 3rd

Los Angeles is 11-3 in games decided in 3-on-3 overtime, including 2-0 against New York. 

Kopitar's four overtime goals are the most in a single season in franchise history. He has eight goals in 13 regular-season games against the Rangers, including five in the two games this season. 

"If it were up to him, he would probably like to play the Rangers a couple more times this year," Dustin Brown said. 

The Rangers (40-23-8) are 1-0-1 on a California trip that ends Saturday at the San Jose Sharks. They were 24-1-1 when leading after two periods. The Rangers lead the New York Islanders by three points in the race for second place in the Metropolitan Division, though the Islanders have two games in hand.

Video: NYR@LAK: Clifford smacks Carter's feed past Lundqvist

Kopitar tied it 3-3 with 4:10 remaining in the third period, deflecting Milan Lucic's shot past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault challenged the call, contending that Kings forward Tyler Toffoli had interfered with Lundqvist while battling for position in front of the net, but the goal was upheld.

"After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee determined that the actions of New York's Ryan McDonagh caused Los Angeles' Tyler Toffoli to contact Lundqvist before the puck crossed the goal line," the NHL Situation Room said.

Lundqvist was upset at the decision, but also displeased with his team's play late.

"I think it comes down to just making really smart plays the last five-six minutes," Lundqvist said. "We put ourselves in a tough spot and they kept coming. We just have to be very smart with the puck. That's been our recipe the last couple of years; the last five or six minutes, you don't give them much. [We'll] try again." 

Video: NYR@LAK: Boyle wrists the puck top-shelf for lead

Vigneault supported Lundqvist's assessment of the tying goal but said ultimately "it doesn't matter what he thinks or I think. If we ask about it, they're going to have a great explanation to why it was a goal, and we've just got to deal with it and move on." 

The Rangers took a 3-1 lead on Kevin Hayes' goal 2:46 into the third. But the Kings made it 3-2 two minutes later when Kyle Clifford scored his second goal of the season, finishing off a pass from Jeff Carter.

Vigneault gave Kopitar credit for his clutch plays.

"He's a big strong premier player in this League, and they're tough to handle," Vigneault said. "Our guys gave it everything they had tonight and we're going to go to San Jose re-energized and get ready for an afternoon game."

Defenseman Dan Boyle gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead at 13:05 of the second period by beating Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick with a shot from the slot after Boyle eluded Brown. 

Brown tied it 1-1 when he held off a check by Boyle and wristed the puck past a screened Lundqvist at 11:53 of the first. The goal came 19 seconds after Rangers forward J.T. Miller scored his 19th of the season, finishing off a 3-on-1 rush that was triggered by Lundqvist's door-stop save on Tanner Pearson.  

Lundqvist made 33 saves but lost in his first appearance at Staples Center since a Stanley Cup-clinching double-overtime loss to the Kings in Game 5 of the 2014 Final. He missed both games against Los Angeles because of injury and didn't play in a 5-4 overtime loss at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 12. 

Quick finished with 23 saves. 

Video: Kopitar, Kings outlast Rangers, 2-1, in overtime

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