Kempe has 4 goals, Copley posts shutout as Kings blank Pens
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Adrian Kempe became the first Los Angeles player to score four straight goals, Pheonix Copley got his second career shutout and the Kings rolled to a 6-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
On a night the Kings retired the No. 23 jersey and unveiled a statue of Dustin Brown, Kempe did two things that were last accomplished by their former long time captain, who led the team to two Stanley Cup titles.
Before Kempe, Brown was the last Kings’ skater to have four goals in a game and three goals in a single period.
“It was a special night for him and for us as well, so we’re happy that we got the win for him,” Kempe said.
Kempe became the seventh player in the last 30 years to score four straight goals and first since David Backes did it for St. Louis in 2015.
“I mean, it’s pretty cool, I guess. But it’s not something I think about,” Kempe said. “I think I had chances for five, six too, so yeah just one of those nights.”
Copley, who signed a $1.5-million, one-year extension on Friday, stopped 25 shots for his first shutout with the Kings. Copley’s last shutout was with Washington in 2018.
It was his 16th victory of the season, which ties his career-high from the 2018-19 season with the Capitals.
“The first game coming off a break can always be kind of a toss up on how we’re feeling, so it was good to get back into the groove and get our legs under us and get a win with it,” he said.
Anze Kopitar had three assists for the Kings, who were playing their first game since Jan. 31. Los Angeles also got goals from Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Alex Iafallo while Rasmus Kupari, Kevin Fiala and Drew Doughty each added two assists.
“I think that after watching the Dustin Brown ceremony and having the Stanley Cup come out, if you didn’t have a spark to play already, it put a little more into the game,” Los Angeles coach Todd McLellan said. “The guys played well. They were rested, fresh and executed well.”
Casey DeSmith allowed three goals in 18 shots before being pulled early in the second, and Dustin Tokarski gave up three goals in 16 shots for the Penguins, who had 59 shots on goal in Friday night’s 6-3 victory over Anaheim.
“We had some really good looks early and could have got a lead right away but I thought their goalie made some big saves for them. It got away from us as the game went on,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said.
Kempe had all three goals during the second period, making him the first Los Angeles skater since Jeff Carter on March 4, 2013, against Nashville to have a natural hat trick. Ironically, Carter was on the ice Saturday with the Penguins.
Kempe, who leads the Kings with 26 goals, had his hat trick during a 13-minute span. He gave Los Angeles a 3-0 lead 1:58 into the second period when he beat DeSmith on his glove side with a shot from the left faceoff circle.
At 5:18, Kempe took a cross-ice pass from Kopitar and put in a snap shot that went under Tolarski’s blocker. Kempe then completed his third career hat trick at 14:27 on the power play when he put in a loose puck in front of the net.
Kempe got his second power-play goal on a one-timer at 15:09 of the third.
Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby not only saw his nine-game points streak snapped, but he picked up a game misconduct midway through the third period following an altercation with Mikey Anderson near the Kings’ net.
According to the NHL, Saturday marked the fourth time in the last decade there has been two natural hat tricks the same day. Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers did it as part of his four-goal outing in a 6-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
The others were on Nov. 4, 2021 (Seattle’s Jordan Eberle and Boston’s Patrice Bergeron), Feb. 27, 2016 (Nashville’s Filip Forsberg and Ottawa’s Mika Zibanejad) and Jan. 18, 2014 (Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis and San Jose’s Joe Pavelski).
Penguins: At San Jose Sharks Tuesday night.
Kings: Host Buffalo Sabres Monday night.
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