Game 27; 18-8-1
COLUMBUS — They were down 2-0, but the Los Angeles Kings outplayed the Columbus Blue Jackets all night long and it paid off, tying the game late in regulation before winning in overtime off the stick of Alec Martinez to clinch a 3-2 victory. The win extends Los Angeles’s winning streak to five and their point streak to seven.
Beginning a six-game road trip on Tuesday, the Kings visited Nationwide Arena to face a Blue Jackets club they had already lost to this season. Like their last game vs. Tampa Bay, the silver-and-black were looking to split another season series, but netminder Sergei Bobrovsky had other ideas.
On Nov. 5 at STAPLES Center, Bobrovsky made 31 saves en route to the Jackets’ win over the Kings. On this night, it was more of the same as the Russian netminder made 33 stops to fluster the Kings’ constant attack.
On the other end, the Jackets capitalized.
On the power play early in the second, Scott Hartnell took a Nick Foligno pass out front where he spun and sniped his 11th up and over Jonathan Quick to open the scoring. The goal was Hartnell’s 11th — coming at 2:32 of the frame — to tie him with Boone Jenner for the team lead in goals. But despite being outplayed, the Jackets added to their lead.
At the 14:17 mark of the middle frame, Matt Calvert broke out on a 2-on-1 break where he kept the puck, beating Quick for his fourth to put the home team up by a pair. It seemed as though the breaks just weren’t falling in the Kings’ favour. But they were able to cut their deficit before the period was through.
With the Kings in the offensive zone, Columbus’s David Savard tried to clear the puck off the boards. Instead of clearing the zone, though, the puck bounced to Christian Ehrhoff who sniped a quick shot from the point that pinged off the post and in, ending Bobrovsky’s shutout bid with his second of the year. Just like that, the Kings had new life.
In the third, though, Bobrovsky continued his dominance. That was until with 5:48 remaining in the game when the Russian left the game with an undisclosed injury. A rusty Curtis McElhinney came on in relief and while the silver-and-black couldn’t pressure the new netminder right off the bat, they did get to him when it mattered.
With Quick pulled for an extra skater, the Kings were pressing late. Then, with just 1:27 remaining, the one-time Blue Jacket Jeff Carter pounced on a loose puck in front, scoring his 11th to tie the game and let the Jackets fans continue their jeering of No. 77. Milan Lucic and Alec Martinez assisted on a goal that put Carter into a tie with Tyler Toffoli for most goals by a King this season. Then, after a near-costly Jake Muzzin giveaway in the dying seconds, the Kings held on long enough to force overtime.
In the extra frame, the Kings, again, were pressing and with 27 seconds left, Nick Shore made a beautiful in-close pass to Alec Martinez who made no mistake, beating a sprawled McElhinney to give Los Angeles the thrilling come-from-behind win, their fifth-straight overall. The goal was Martinez’s fourth of the year with Dustin Brown picking up the second assist, who made a solid single-handed effort to set up the goal.
The win was a hard-fought one for the Kings who played all night like they deserved to have those two points. Unfortunately, Bobrovsky was their Achilles’ heel for much of the night and while no one likes to see anyone get hurt, the netminder’s departure late was a break for the Kings who took advantage.
In addition to his overtime winner, Alec Martinez was invaluable in more ways than one on this night. He assisted on the game-tying goal, plus he led the Kings with seven shots, four blocked shots and shared the lead with four hits. As for Drew Doughty, the birthday boy saw his three-game point streak come to an end. Nonetheless, he was no less integral in this game, playing 30:59 of ice time finishing with three shots and a plus-one rating.
After starting their road trip on a high note, the Kings are now off for a few days. Up next is a trip to the Steel City on Friday where they pay a visit to the Consol Energy Center to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. It will be the first of a back-to-back schedule for the silver-and-black.