Kunitz Powers Pens Past Kings 3-2 In Shootout
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LOS ANGELES (KDKA) – Chris Kunitz came up with some late-game heroics to lead the Penguins to a 3-2 shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings Saturday night.
Trailing 2-1 with about three minutes to play in the game, the Penguins gained control of the puck in the offensive zone.
Kunitz started to go behind the net with the puck, but left it for Jordan Staal, who had an opening.
However, he was unable to get a shot off and chipped the puck back to Kunitz, who stepped out from behind the net and elevated a shot over the outstretched pad of Jonathan Quick.
The teams would not be able to settle the game in overtime and went to a shootout.
Jarret Stoll and Evgeni Malkin failed to score in the first round of the shootout. Anze Kopitar and Kris Letang each scored in the second round to set up a dramatic finish.
Dustin Brown and James Neal could not find the back of the net and Marc-Andre Fleury denied Simon Gagne in the fourth round.
The stage was set for Kunitz to be the hero.
As Kunitz closed in on Quick, he faked the shot to open up the five-hole and slid the puck between the legs to give the Penguins the win.
Pittsburgh opened the scoring in the first period with a power play tally by Steve Sullivan.
Letang faked a slap shot from the point and skated around a Kings defender who had dropped to the ice to block the shot. Letang casually slid the puck down low to Sullivan, who ripped it behind Quick for his first goal as a Penguin.
The Penguins were 1-for-5 on the power play in the first period and held a 14-8 advantage in shots heading to the first intermission.
However, the tide would start to change early in the second as the Penguins got into penalty trouble of their own. While they held the Kings’ power play off the board, momentum had shifted sides.
With under seven minutes to play in the second period, Richard Park turned the puck over in the neutral zone, which led to a 2-on-1 for the Kings.
Justin Williams found Kopitar streaking down the slot and he roofed a backhander over Fleury to tie the game 1-1.
In the third period, another turnover led to the go-ahead goal for Los Angeles.
Pittsburgh was unable to get the puck out of the zone along the far boards. Williams found Kopitar with space again, but instead of shooting, he fed Gagne on the backdoor for the easy tap-in.
Gagne’s goal seemed to spark the Penguins as they worked to tie the game.
Fleury finished the game with 24 saves, while Quick stopped 31 shots.
Letang had a chance to give the Penguins the lead in the final minute, but his slap shot rang off the post.
The Penguins will now be off until Friday when the host the Dallas Stars at 7 p.m.