LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Los Angeles Kings can’t win in regulation, and they’re unbeatable in extra time. They fail to score a goal for a full week, and then they outscore the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Although the Kings’ season doesn’t make much sense so far, not even Sidney Crosby’s latest burst of brilliance could stop them.
Nic Dowd scored 2:37 into overtime, and the Kings snapped a three-game skid with a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.
Trevor Lewis and Matt Greene scored slump-busting goals and Peter Budaj made 21 saves in a strong bounce-back effort for the Kings, who had been shut out in three consecutive games and 10 full periods before they applied their grinding defensive game to slow down the speedy Pens.
Los Angeles is 0-6-0 in regulation this season, but 5-0-0 in overtime games.
“We obviously played through (difficulties), coming from down a goal, and got a lead,” said coach Darryl Sutter, who earned his 600th NHL victory. “I thought we were really solid. Scored the first goal. Just got to keep fighting through that stuff.”
The Kings started overtime with a power play, but Pittsburgh easily killed it. Dowd then got in alone on Fleury and slipped in a backhand for his second NHL goal.
Dowd said he only ended up in position to score because he had fallen down earlier, forcing him to join the rush late.
“Nothing special. I just made a move and luckily that side was open,” Dowd said. “Maybe the other 50 percent of the time, maybe (Fleury) is there.”
Crosby scored two goals for Pittsburgh, giving him six in five games to start his season. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 24 shots for the Penguins, whose four-game winning streak ended.
“It was just tight hockey,” Crosby said. “They’re pretty comfortable playing that way. They’re always pretty stingy, especially playing at home. That’s just kind of the game you expect. You don’t accept it. You want to get chances, you want to generate, but not if it means giving things back the other way.”
Despite giving up Crosby’s tying goal midway through the third period, the Kings rallied to win a meeting of Second Six NHL franchises celebrating their 50th anniversaries. These teams have won four of the last eight Stanley Cup titles, but only the Penguins are in contending form at this early point of the season.
Crosby has been in rare form since missing the first six games with a concussion, scoring goals in four of his five games with two multi-goal efforts already. He scored in the first period and then tied the game midway through the third, deflecting home Kris Letang’s shot.
“We marvel some at how good he is,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “He’s playing inspiring hockey right now.”
The Kings got their goals from much less likely sources.
Lewis ended their 205-minute, 25-second scoreless drought when his contested attempt trickled underneath Fleury for the grinding forward’s first regular-season goal since March 26.
Greene then ended his 26-game scoring drought with a long slap shot early in the third. The stay-at-home defenseman hadn’t scored a point since March 3, 2015.
“There’s really no rhyme or reason to it,” Greene said. “Just try to shoot the puck as hard as you can at the net every time.”
NOTES: Kings G Jeff Zatkoff received his Stanley Cup ring from the Penguins before the game. Zatkoff, currently injured, played early in the postseason for Pittsburgh last spring on the way to its title. … D Kevin Gravel made his season debut for the Kings in place of Tom Gilbert, who began a three-game suspension for boarding Anaheim’s Nick Ritchie on Tuesday. … LW Teddy Purcell returned to the Kings’ lineup for the first time since Oct. 14. The newcomer played in Los Angeles’ first two games, but was scratched for the next eight with an undisclosed injury. … Pittsburgh scratched RW Tom Kuhnhackl for the second straight game. He scored no goals in the first nine games.
Penguins: At San Jose on Saturday night for a Stanley Cup Final rematch.
Kings: Host Calgary on Saturday night before heading to Eastern Canada for a road trip.
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