Chris Kunitz scored the tying goal with 2:57 left in regulation and netted the deciding tally in the fourth round of a shootout to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.
Steve Sullivan scored his first of the season, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves for the Penguins (9-3-3), who lead the NHL with 21 points.
Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist, Simon Gagne also scored, and Justin Williams had two assists for the Kings, who have lost four straight. Jonathan Quick had 31 saves.
Mike Richards was taken down from behind by defenseman Kris Letang took him down and was awarded a penalty shot with 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Richards missed wide of the left post with a wrist shot, making him 0 for 6 on penalty shots and keeping the game tied 1-1.
The Kings pulled ahead 2-1 when Gagne scored with 6:11 remaining.
Kings captain Dustin Brown thought he had an insurance goal with 3:20 to go, but referee Kelly Sutherland waved it off because Brown hit the puck above the crossbar. Video replays upheld the decision.
The Penguins tied it with 2:57 remaining when Kunitz lifted a backhander over Quick’s outstretched right leg from the edge of the crease.
Three minor penalties were called against the Kings during a 1:34 span late in the first period, leading to a goal by Sullivan at 18:45.
Willie Mitchell and Ethan Moreau received staggered slashing penalties, giving Pittsburgh a 5-on-3 advantage for 30 seconds. The two-man power play was extended another 1:31 by a delay-of-game penalty against defenseman Rob Scuderi.
The Kings, who lost 3-0 in their two previous home games, tied it 1-1 at 13:34 of the second period with Kopitar’s seventh goal.
That ended Los Angeles’ home scoreless drought at 158 minutes, 31 seconds, dating to Jack Johnson’s third-period goal in a 1-0 win over Dallas on Oct. 22.
Los Angeles had a two-man advantage for 1:18 earlier in the period and recorded only one shot. Fleury has stopped all 38 shots he’s faced while killing penalties, and Pittsburgh has allowed only three power-play goals in 44 chances.
Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby, sidelined since Jan. 5, 2011 because of a concussion, was with his teammates for the first two games of the trip before returning to Pittsburgh on Saturday for a doctor’s appointment.
This win came exactly two years after the Penguins’ previous visit to Staples Center, when the Kings won 5-2 with a four-goal third period against Fleury.
NOTES: The Penguins are 32-16-8 during Crosby’s absence, not counting their first-round playoff loss to Tampa Bay last season. … Penguins D Robert Bortuzzo, promoted from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL on Friday, made his NHL debut. He replaced Ben Lovejoy, who broke his left wrist during Thursday’s 4-3 shootout loss at San Jose. … Pittsburgh played short-handed more than twice for the first time in six games. … The Kings have been held to three goals in four home games after beating St. Louis 5-0 on Oct. 18. … Penguins C Jordan Staal returned to the lineup after missing two games with a leg injury.