SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) After struggling for most of December, the Los Angeles Kings know they have some catching up to do. Sweeping a home-and-home from the first-place San Jose Sharks sure is a good start.
Tanner Pearson scored 58 seconds into overtime off a pass from Jeff Carter to help the Kings rally for a 2-1 victory Tuesday night over San Jose.
”We know what we’re getting into when we play them,” Carter said. ”We have some ground to make up on them and a lot of teams in our division. We really keyed on these games, and good to get four.”
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After losing nine of 14 games, the Kings have won two straight against the Sharks, starting with a 3-2 home win on Saturday to move into a tie for fourth place in the Pacific Division, six points behind San Jose.
Carter tied it early in the third with his 21st goal and then set up the winner. He came in on a 2-on-1 after the Sharks lost possession in the offensive zone and passed to Pearson for the one-timer that gave the Kings their league-leading seventh overtime win of the season.
”I just kind of hung out by the blue line until Carts crossed the blue line and went down on a 2-on-1 and finished it off,” Pearson said.
Peter Budaj made 26 saves.
Logan Couture scored the lone goal for the Sharks, who lost for just the second time all season when leading after two periods. Martin Jones made 33 saves.
Playing without injured starting defensemen Marc-Edouard Vlasic and David Schlemko, the Sharks were under pressure most of the night but still managed to get one point.
”When you take out the guys we have out of the lineup, and everyone’s dealing with injuries, but it changes your team,” coach Peter DeBoer said. ”But you’ve got to find a way. You scratch and claw and it’s not going to look great every night and that’s the reality of it.”
Trailing 1-0, the Kings tied the game early in the third with a power-play goal by Carter. With Justin Braun in the box, Jake Muzzin fired a pass from the point that Carter re-directed past Jones for his seventh goal in the past seven games.
”He’s doing everything pretty well,” coach Darryl Sutter said. ”I can’t remember the last time I didn’t say that. He’s on fire and we need it obviously. He’s really put a charge in the team.”
Each team had chances after that, but San Jose’s Brenden Dillon and Los Angeles’ Nic Dowd hit posts and the goalies came up with key stops, including a point-blank save by Jones against Jordan Nolan late in the third.
”It’s tough to win in this league when you score just one,” Couture said. ”It’s time we start scoring some goals. We couldn’t score and that was the game right there.”
Los Angeles was all over the Sharks at the start but was unable to break through against Jones despite a 16-6 edge in shots in the first period.
San Jose steadied things in the second period and ended up getting the lead when Couture’s shot trickled under Budaj’s arm for his fourth goal of the season against Los Angeles.
The Kings nearly tied it a few minutes later on the power play when Alec Martinez’s point shot deflected off Jones and off Marian Gaborik’s glove into the net. The goal was wiped off by replay because it went in off Gaborik’s glove.
Los Angeles had another good chance late in the period but Anze Kopitar was stopped on a short-handed breakaway by Jones in the closing seconds of the period to keep the game at 1-0.
NOTES: Pearson has four career OT game-winners, including one in the playoffs against the Sharks last season. … San Jose blew a 2-0 lead after two periods to Pittsburgh in a 3-2 loss Oct. 20. … D Mirco Mueller made his season debut for San Jose.
Kings: Open seven-game homestand against Detroit on Thursday night.