LOS ANGELES (AP) There’s more than one way to win a hockey game, and the Los Angeles Kings keep proving that.
Tanner Pearson scored 4:40 into overtime and Los Angeles edged the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on Saturday night for its eighth consecutive victory.
It’s the longest winning streak in the NHL this season, but it’s not as though the Kings have overpowered teams every night. This was the second consecutive game in which they lost a lead in the third period only to win in OT.
”I think we win in different ways,” said Anze Kopitar. ”None of these have been easy, but we’re grinding out wins.”
Kopitar and Tyler Toffoli each scored and assisted on the other’s goal for the Kings in the second period. Jonathan Quick had 32 saves.
Los Angeles was unable to build on its lead and the Hurricanes stormed back, scoring twice in the third period to force overtime on goals from Elias Lindholm and Victor Rask. Scott Darling stopped 18 shots.
The struggling Hurricanes have lost five of their last six games overall, and six of seven against the Kings at Staples Center, but Carolina coach Bill Peters was pleased with the way his team fought back.
”The guys were dialed in right from the drop of the puck,” he said. ”I thought we were real good. I thought there were lots of things we can build on and move forward with.”
Carolina outshot the Kings 34-21, yet despite putting on the pressure could not find the net for the opening two periods.
The Kings struggled early, too, before Toffoli and Kopitar teamed up twice in less than three minutes in the second.
But the Kings’ offense stalled at that point and the Hurricanes mounted a comeback.
”We’ve been a little mentally soft the last few games and tonight we could have easily folded,” said Carolina’s Jordan Staal. ”The third period was huge for us.”
The Kings were playing their 15th game in 28 days, and coach John Stevens sensed it was affecting their play.
”I think we looked a little bit tired tonight,” he said. ”Even though you’re tired, you get some great performances from a couple of key guys. Quick was great tonight.”
Things did not look promising for Los Angeles through most of overtime. The Hurricanes controlled the puck for almost the entire period.
”I got a little nervous for the guys on the ice because it was a long change,” Stevens said. ”I think they probably made three line changes there. I thought the guys played really smart.”
When the puck was finally turned over and the Kings were able to make a line change, Pearson came streaming down the right side and fired a shot that Darling blocked.
The rebound, however, went back to Pearson, who knocked it high by Darling for the game-winner.
”You have the lead in the third period, you don’t want to give it up,” Stevens said. ”That sounds good in theory, but it’s not going to happen all the time.
”I think it comes from a big chuck of the group that knows how to win. They’re comfortable playing in tight games. They’re not going to sit there and hang their heads because things didn’t go our way. There was still time on the clock to make it right.”
NOTES: The eight consecutive victories ties the second-longest streak in Kings history (fifth time). . Quick has won six straight. . Staal, too, was pleased with Carolina’s effort. ”It was a whole game of working hard,” he said. ”We play like that every night, we’re going to be a lot better off.”
Hurricanes: Head down the freeway to play Anaheim on Monday.
Kings: Open a four-game road trip Tuesday in New Jersey.
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