LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Defenseman Tom Poti has scored six goals for the New York
Rangers this season, and four of them have been game-winners. Not a bad
Poti notched his second overtime goal in 24 hours as the Rangers beat the
Los Angeles Kings 3-2 Tuesday night in their only meeting of the season.
"It's not shocking, I'll put it that way," teammate Eric Lindros said.
"He's a helluva player. The puck hadn't been going in for him recently, but
the last couple of games it did at crucial times."
Rangers captain Mark Messier got the tying goal with 11:13 left in
regulation, after being stopped on a first-period breakaway by Cristobal Huet.
Greg de Vries also scored and Jussi Markkanen made 28 saves, helping extend
Los Angeles' winless streak to six games (0-2-4) and end the Kings' seven-game
home unbeaten streak (4-0-3). Kovalev and Bobby Holik had two assists apiece.
Poti, who beat the Phoenix Coyotes one minute into OT on Monday, scored on a
redirection of Alex Kovalev's centering pass from the right boards just 39
seconds into the five-minute period.
"That was definitely a first for me -- two in a row," said Poti, who had 11
goals last season. "Greg said he had done it before, and he told me to go out
and do it again. I was just lucky out there. We're trying to establish
ourselves by winning all four games on this trip, so this is a good start."
It's the first time the Rangers have won consecutive games since Nov. 23-25,
when they beat Ottawa 6-2 at Madison Square Garden and followed that with a 2-0
win at Tampa Bay. The last time they won back-to-back games on the same road
trip was last Feb. 23-25, at Minnesota and Anaheim.
Until these two victories, the Rangers had not won a game this season in
which they trailed after two periods.
"It's not the kind of position we wanted to be in going into the third
period, but we found a way to manufacture two wins in the last two games
instead of coming out with nothing," Messier said. "Those are four big points
for us. And in the end, I guess that's all that's important."
Martin Straka and Jozef Stumpel scored for the Kings, who have gone to
overtime in seven of their last 11 games.
Matthew Barnaby had the puck in the slot and fanned on a wrist shot, but it
dribbled off the bottom of Barnaby's stick toward the right of the crease and
Messier put his team-high 13th goal between goalie Huet's glove and the post
with 11:13 left in regulation to pull the Rangers even.
"We haven't played good enough with the lead," Kings coach Andy Murray
said. "The term shouldn't be `protecting' a lead. That's what everybody uses.
If you've got the lead, you should win. But we haven't played well enough to do
New York opened the scoring at 2:33 of the first, just five seconds after
killing off Messier's slashing penalty. Kovalev got the puck from Holik behind
the net, carried it toward the left circle and found de Vries cruising down the
Straka tied it about 11/2 minutes later with his ninth goal, beating Markkanen
to the stick side with a 20-foot slap shot from the left circle.
The Kings took a 2-1 lead just 57 seconds before intermission while Lindros
was off for hooking. Stumpel was credited with his third goal of the season
after his intended cross-ice pass to Ziggy Palffy caromed off the blade of
Ranger forward Jed Ortmeyer's stick and over Markkanen's glove.