Friday, November 26, 2021

Iafalo, Kings rally for 3-2 OT win after Devils tie late

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Alex Iafalo scored 42 seconds in overtime on Friday night to give the Los Angeles Kings their fourth straight 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils.

Arthur Kaliyev scored a power-play goal, Adrian Kempe also scored a goal and Kelvin Pietersen made 21 saves for the Kings, who went 0-5-1 before their first winning streak of the season.

“Not a Picasso, but it’s points,” said Kings coach Todd McClellan.

Pavel Zacha, with 24 seconds remaining in the third period, saved a point for the Devils, who have lost three straight. Jesper Bratt had a goal, and Mackenzie Blackwood made 26 saves at the start of his season following surgery on his heel in June.

“We got to play like that every night,” said New Jersey defenseman Damon Severson. “We will give ourselves a chance to win.”

After Zacha beat Pietersen to his left shoulder with a wrist shot from the right circle, the Kings recovered it to win a one-timer in the slot by Ifalo, who had four goals and three assists during a five-game point streak. Huh.

It was the second straight game where Los Angeles won despite scoring a goal in the last minute of regulation. St. Louis scored on Wednesday with nine seconds remaining in the Kings’ 3-2 shootout win.

“I think we would all love simple wins, where it’s not overtime or anything like that, but we don’t always get what we want,” McClellan said. “It has been a good thing for our team to find ways to win during the streak to deal with the adversity. Getting off would be easy. We find ways to keep up with it, so a lot of good things are developing. It’s just a matter of keeping them now.”

The Kings had three power-play opportunities in the third, but had almost four minutes left to go 2-1 before finally capitalizing on Kaliyev’s wrist shot through traffic. This was his second consecutive game with a goal and his third in the last four matches.

All three penalties were by Severson, who was moved to the top pair by Dougie Hamilton on Tuesday after a lower-body injury that prevented him from facing Los Angeles.

“Yeah, like, we should have won that game,” Severson said. “We played a good game, and it sucks as the guy who unfortunately took a penalty for the move. Great job by our men to get the tying goal. Unfortunately, lost in overtime.”

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Bratt scored on the breakaway from a stretch pass from Andreas Johnson to tie it at 1:19 of the third period. Johnson fired his pass behind two Kings in neutral territory to set up Bratt’s second goal.

Kempe put the Kings ahead in the second period with two seconds remaining, tapping Dustin Brown’s pass through the crease. Severson was on top of the paint but left Kempe alone at the far post to score for the second straight game. He has two goals and two assists during his three-game point streak.

back to it

Blackwood said he was not feeling completely healthy, but it was hard to say as he made several difficult saves, which included denying Kings captain Enge Kopitar on a backhand in the first period.

“I was very happy with how it held up,” Blackwood said. “I wasn’t really sure what it would be like for a full game, but it was enough to get me through the whole time without limiting me, so I was really happy with it.”

Devils coach Lindy Ruff is expected to be wary of Blackwood’s workload, which means Jonathan Bernier should be heavily involved in the nets.

game notes

Devils: F Alexander Holtz, the seventh overall pick in the 2020 draft, made his NHL debut and played 15 minutes and 25 seconds. … Hamilton was able to participate in an alternate skate Friday morning.

Kings: Kopitar gets secondary support on Kempe’s goal. This was Kopitar’s fifth point (one goal, four assists) in his last four matches. … Kings F Andreas Athanasiou made his season debut after suffering an upper body injury in training camp. He was instrumental in Kaliyev’s goal. … Kings f Lias Anderson did not play due to an undisclosed injury.


Devils: End the three-match tour on Saturday night in San Jose.

Kings: Begin a four-match tour in Toronto on Monday night.


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