Kempe strikes in OT, Kings top Flames after giving away lead
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Adrian Kempe scored in overtime, Pheonix Copley made 27 saves to win his fourth straight start and the Los Angeles Kings beat the Calgary Flames 4-3 on Thursday night.
Los Angeles fought back after squandering a two-goal lead in the third period, with Kempe scoring his 13th goal on the rush from Viktor Arvidsson at 3:23 of overtime. The Kings swept a three-game homestand and won their fourth in a row.
“Knew I had Arvy with me for a 2-on-1. … Obviously, I was expecting him to shoot, but I was staying back post in case the puck ended up there, and Arvy made a great play back to me for an easy tap-in,” said Kempe, who scored his fifth career overtime goal.
Gabe Vilardi had a goal and an assist, and Phillip Danault and Blake Lizotte scored 10 seconds apart early in the third period for Los Angeles.
“Good resiliency from our group, kind of letting them back in the game — and rightfully so, they made some good plays — but for us to kind of regroup and win that game in overtime is huge,” Lizotte said.
Tyler Toffoli had a power-play goal, and Dillon Dube and Jonathan Huberdeau also scored, but the Flames couldn’t get their third straight road win. Dan Vladar allowed four goals on 32 shots.
“We fought hard in the third to come back and get a huge point, but, obviously, in overtime you want to score and get a win,” Huberdeau said. “We battled ’til the end.”
The Kings looked to be in control after a backhand goal from Danault 1:29 into the third period off a tenacious forecheck by Alex Iafallo, and Lizotte made it 3-1 by swatting in Vilardi’s rebound at 1:39.
Toffoli buried a wrist shot for his fifth power-play goal at 6:46 to pull within 3-2, and the Flames caught a break when Kevin Fiala put his penalty shot wide just over a minute later.
Calgary tied it at 3 with 6:28 to go when Dube netted his eighth goal off Noah Hanifin’s pass.
“We were down two goals against a good team, didn’t panic, and we pushed the button and came back in the third. That shows a lot about our team,” said Huberdeau, who got first goal and fifth point during a three-game streak when he opened the scoring 3:23 into the game.
MORE THAN SCORING
Vilardi tipped in his own rebound from close range with 2:19 to go in the first after redirecting Sean Walker’s shot from the right point. Vilardi had not scored since Nov. 29, going 10 games without a goal but remained the team leader thanks to his hot start.
Coach Todd McLellan was pleased with how Vilardi navigated the drought, a sign of the 2017 first-round draft pick’s continued development.
“When we compare his four years with us now, when he wasn’t scoring he didn’t bring a lot to the table. Now he is. It’s not just about scoring,” McLellan said.
Iafallo has been slotted further down the lineup the past two seasons as the Kings have improved their overall talent level, but McLellan said he remains an important contributor.
“He’s deodorant, and what does that mean? Well, he cleans up a lot of messes and makes things smell pretty good when it’s not going well,” McLellan said.
Kings F Arthur Kaliyev did not play because of an undisclosed injury and has already been ruled out against Arizona on Friday. … The Kings activated F Brendan Lemieux from injured reserve on Thursday. Lemieux has not played since Nov. 12 because of a lower-body injury.
Flames: At Anaheim on Friday night.
Kings: At Arizona on Friday night.
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