The Kings built a three-goal lead, but lost it Wednesday to the Ottawa Senators. They established a rhythm and flow to their game, but they lost their way along with their edge. Then, with one fortunate bounce, the Kings salvaged a 4-3 overtime victory on Jeff Carter’s power-play goal 28 seconds into the extra period.
Or to be more precise, the Kings persevered to improve their all-time record to 12-1-1 against the Senators at Staples Center.
Carter’s second goal of the game seemed to be a neat summary on a game in which each team fought to capture momentum and maintain it. Mike Richards’ perimeter shot simply glanced off Carter’s stick as Carter stood a few steps in front of Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson.
“He made a great play,” Carter said of Richards. “All I did was go to the net and stand there.” Carter also said Richards told him to be ready in front of Anderson.
The ending wiped out an up-and-down game that featured a monster opening period from the Kings and especially team captain Dustin Brown. The second and third periods were more evenly played, with the Senators erasing the Kings 3-0 lead.
Brown scored twice in the first period, and Carter scored once in what was surely the Kings’ best-played period of the young season. Brown also drew two penalties against the Senators, which the Kings turned into power-play goals in the opening period.
The Senators, playing without injured center Jason Spezza, rebounded from a disastrous first period with goals from Jean-Gabriel Pageau in the second and Bobby Ryan and Milan Michalek in the third. Ryan’s goal was his first with the Senators since an offseason trade from the Ducks.
The turning point for the Kings came late in the third period, when the Senators’ Clarke MacArthur was penalized for hooking defenseman Drew Doughty with 32 seconds remaining. The Kings generated a few chances in the closing moments of regulation, but the teams were deadlocked.
Then, in overtime, it looked as if the Senators might survive.
Richards then unleashed a shot from the high slot just as MacArthur was about to go free. The puck glanced off Carter’s stick and past Anderson, and those who remained among a sellout crowd of 18,118 roared in appreciation. There had been plenty of tense moments leading up to the goal.
“We’ve blown leads and come back (to win),” Brown said. “We won tonight, but over the long haul, if we’re going to be successful, we’ve got to lock games down. This team has been, over the last three or four years, one of the best at doing that. We’ve got to get back to that.”
The Kings don’t have to wait long to attempt to smooth out their rough edges. They leave today to begin a four-game, eight-night trip to play the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Nashville Predators.