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The Los Angeles Kings’ dominance on the road continued last night, defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in overtime after a huge third period comeback.
It looked like the Kings may have found themselves down early, when Johnny Gaudreau beat Pheonix Copley on a 2-on-1 with the Blue Jackets’ first shot of the game, only for it to be determined the puck only rang off the crossbar upon a review.
However, only a little afterwards, the Blue Jackets went on a power play and Kirill Marchenko beat Copley with a great shot before he was really set, opening the scoring for Columbus for real this time.
The Kings did start to create a bit of offense for themselves as the period went on, and had a power play chance later where they sustained their most pressure of the frame, but trailed at intermission after a mediocre first period.
Then in the second frame, it looked like the Blue Jackets had extended the lead early off a goal from Dmitri Voronkov, before it was called back for a kicking motion. However, once again, the Blue Jackets managed to score for real shortly after, with Johnny Gaudreau ripping a great shot over Copley’s glove on a 2-on-1, to make it a 2-0 game. Then while Los Angeles did have some good chances on another power play later, they couldn’t convert, and Mathieu Olivier managed to slide a puck through Copley in-close in the back half of the frame, putting the Blue Jackets up by three.
However, the Kings came out flying in the third period, with Phillip Danault getting Los Angeles on the board off a tipped-in point shot only 23 seconds into the period. Then only five minutes after that, Danault managed to poke a puck across the line after it squeaked through Elvis Merzlikins, quickly pulling Los Angeles back to within one with his second goal of the period.
The Kings kept pressing from there, and only a minute and a half after Danault’s second goal, Arthur Kaliyev was denied on a rush, but then managed to bank the puck off Merzlikins and in, tying the game for the Kings less than a third of the way through the frame.
Los Angeles went on to outshoot Columbus 15-7 in a dominant third period, managing to climb back into the game and erase the three-goal deficit in the process, sending the contest to overtime.
It didn’t take long to get a decision in the extra frame, and only 33 seconds in, Drew Doughty took a pass from Anze Kopitar to wire a shot past Merzlikins, giving the Kings their 10th straight road win.
It’s a huge comeback win for the Kings, once again showing they have the firepower to turn a game around very, very quickly.
Phillip Danault was key in the comeback, giving the team a bit of a spark to open the third period with the early goal. The whole top-six group was creating chances though, with the first and second lines outshooting opponents by a 19-10 combined margin at 5-on-5.
Of course, the first 40 minutes wasn’t pretty, being one of the more disappointing two-period stretches we’ve seen from the team in little while. There were careless turnovers leading to odd-man rushes, looking more like the mistakes that were made in the first half of last year than the strong defensive structure we’ve now come to expect. Again though, we can expect that was more of an anomaly than anything else, and clearly, it wasn’t a hole they couldn’t recover from.
A few areas to note on the less-positive side: first, Pheonix Copley didn’t look great on two of the goals against. While he put together a fine game overall, there’s just a drastic difference in the goaltending they’ll get from Talbot versus Copley. Then second, the return of Blake Lizotte is going to be a very welcome addition for the fourth line. While the line did score, it just doesn’t have the same jump without Lizotte right now. Lastly, the Englund-Spence pairing also struggled.
Regardless, if the Kings can pull out a win like that while only playing one period of really good hockey, it emphasizes just how much potential this team has at their best.
The road success also continues to be a huge story, now 10-0-0 in away games to begin the year. With the win, they tie an NHL record for the longest road winning streak to start a season.
They’ll have an opportunity to break that record tomorrow night, when they face the Montreal Canadiens in the second game of their road trip.
OTHER ARTICLES FROM NOVEMBER
- Kings right back on track with win over Avalanche