Power play pushes Kings past Rangers 4-2 to end skid
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Goals and power plays were in short supply for the Los Angeles Kings during their longest losing streak of the season. Three scores on three chances with the man-advantage in the second period against the New York Rangers were enough to get them back on track.
Tanner Pearson, Michael Amadio and Jake Muzzin each scored on the power play, and the Kings snapped their six-game skid with a 4-2 win over the Rangers on Sunday night.
“I think the second period was arguably our best period this year. We just got to play more like that,” Kings captain Anze Kopitar said.
Jonathan Quick made 21 saves while ending his personal five-game losing skid. Trevor Lewis added an empty-net goal with 17.8 seconds remaining.
David Desharnais had a power-play goal and Jimmy Vesey also scored for the Rangers, who have dropped four straight on the road. Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves.
Trailing 2-0 after the first period, the Kings got back in it by scoring three power-play goals in the second against the fourth-best penalty kill in the league.
Los Angeles cut the deficit to 2-1 on Muzzin’s goal 30 seconds into the period. Brendan Smith had been called for a roughing penalty after the first period ended, leading to a fight with an unlikely pugilist in forward Adrian Kempe and putting the Kings on special teams to start the second.
“It’s an emotional game, and sometimes that’s what you need to get a little jump,” said defenseman Alec Martinez, who had two assists. “There’s a lot of parity in this league, and often times the difference is an emotion. If you don’t have it, then you’re probably not going to win too many games.”
Amadio’s second career goal at 6:13 tied it before Pearson put Los Angeles ahead 3-2 at 10:22 by redirecting Martinez’s shot from the blue line and sending it trickling in through Lundqvist’s legs.
The Kings had three power-play goals in a period for the third time this season. They also did it in their 5-0 win at Edmonton on Jan. 2, the last victory prior to their losing streak.
“There was a few penalties in the second where they just made us pay again and again,” Lundqvist said. “Five-on-five, I thought we played a really strong game. We just came up short on the PK so it’s something we’ll have to correct for the next one.”
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead 3:53 into the game with their third power-play goal in four games. What looked to be a centering pass by Desharnais deflected off defenseman Derek Forbort’s skate and past Quick for his fifth goal, with Tony DeAngelo and Vinni Lettieri picking up the assists.
Vesey made it 2-0 at 7:12 to become the eighth Ranger with at least 10 goals this season. Quick was able to stop initial shots by Brady Skjei and Mats Zuccarello, but Vesey backhanded in the rebound from the edge of the crease.
“I think it was very impressive the way they dug in and fought back,” Kings coach John Stevens said. “The ice was tilted to start the game. Just seemed like everything that could go wrong it did go wrong, but credit to those guys, they got it turned around in a hurry.”
NOTES: The Rangers and Knicks played their first day-night doubleheader in the same road venue since Feb. 3, 1957, when both New York teams lost at the Boston Garden. The Knicks lost to the Lakers 127-107 at Staples Center on Sunday afternoon. ... Rangers defenseman Marc Staal returned after missing two games with a hip flexor injury. ... Los Angeles has been outscored 7-0 in the first period during its past six games.
Rangers: Visit the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night.
Kings: Visit the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night to open a four-game road trip.
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