Pearson scores OT winner as Kings top Flames 2-1
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — After facing 31 shots through three periods, Darcy Kuemper was happy to get a break in overtime.
Kuemper didn’t face a single shot in the extra period, while his teammates fired four pucks the other way — including one by Tanner Pearson with 26.1 seconds remaining that beat Mike Smith to give the Los Angeles Kings a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames.
“It was kind of a nice overtime for me,” said Kuemper, who made 30 saves in regulation to improve his record to 6-1-3. “I don’t think I had a shot there, so I just kind of watched a little bit. Whenever you get a chance to win it, it’s great to capitalize on that.”
Pearson took a pass from Drew Doughty and shot the puck past Smith to help the Kings beat the Flames for the first time this season after losing the previous two meetings between the teams.
“I think in overtime, you just want as much possession as possible,” Pearson said. “Drew and I were kind of giving give-and-goes all over the ice and then he faked the shot there and froze everyone, so I just wanted to get it off as quick as possible and it went in.”
Jake Muzzin also scored for the Kings, while Darcy Kuemper made 30 saves to improve to 6-1-3.
Kuemper started in net for the Kings in place of injured goalie Jonathan Quick, who was pulled early in the second period Tuesday night earlier after allowing five goals to the Canucks in Vancouver during a 6-2 loss.
“We were desperate,” Kuemper said. “You could tell by the way guys committed in our own zone. Tons of guys had a lot of blocks. We were paying the price it takes to win and we were rewarded for it.”
Sean Monahan scored for the Flames, who have recorded points in 10 straight games while going 7-0-3 in that span. Calgary has lost three straight 2-1 decisions in extra time on home ice.
Smith finished with 25 saves for the Flames.
We’re just not getting rewarded right now,” Smith said. “The good thing is we’re still getting points in these games and we’re doing some good things. We’re just a little half-degree off and it’s costing us some points, but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We have to keep going here. We’re still in the hunt.”
Monahan opened the scoring at 14:03 of the first when he finished off a nice three-way passing play with Micheal Ferland and Johnny Gaudreau. Ferland dropped the puck back to Monahan, who passed it over to Gaudreau before one-timing a return pass from his linemate past Kuemper.
Smith made a sharp glove save to deny a scoring opportunity by Los Angeles’ Alex Iafallo with 31.1 seconds remaining before the first intermission.
Kuemper made a couple of nice saves early in the second period to turn aside a pair of power-play chances by Monahan and Gaudreau and keep the Kings within a goal.
The Flames outshot the Kings 16-8 in the second, but weren’t able to beat Kuemper, although Monahan came close with four minutes remaining in the period when he rang a shot off the post during a Calgary power play.
“We had a couple power plays in that second period that had a couple good chances where it would be nice for it to go in,” Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk said. “You never want to keep a team in it. You want to suffocate them when you get the chance, but we didn’t do that and they got the two points and we only got the one.”
Los Angeles tied it on a power-play goal by Muzzin at 4:09 of the third period. Muzzin took a pass from Anze Kopitar and blasted a point shot through traffic past Smith.
The Kings had a chance to win it with one minute left in regulation, but Smith stopped Pearson’s shot from the slot before turning aside Adrian Kempe’s rebound attempt.
NOTES: Monahan has recorded three goals and two assists in Calgary’s three games against the Kings this season, while Gaudreau has set up five goals. ... Both Muzzin and Kopitar increased their point-scoring streak to five games for the Kings. During that span, Muzzin has scored two goals and set up there others, while Kopitar has one goal and four assists.
Kings: at Dallas on Jan. 30.
Flames: at Edmonton on Thursday night.