Kings defenseman Drew Doughty receives congratulations after scoring the eventual game-winning goal against the Penguins.
Charles LeClaire/Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport
Drew Doughty scored early in the third period to give Los Angeles the lead for good, and the Kings beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 Thursday night for their franchise-record tying eighth straight road win.
Alec Martinez and Jeff Carter also scored for Los Angeles, and Martin Jones made 35 saves as the Kings matched the club road record set nearly 40 years ago.
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The Penguins rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie it on goals by Chris Kunitz and Taylor Pyatt. Jeff Zatkoff stopped 29 shots but couldn’t get a handle on Doughty’s slap shot 3:51 into the third.
A potential tying goal by Penguins forward Brandon Sutter midway through the third was waved off due to goaltender interference.
Los Angeles escaped by stifling Pittsburgh’s top-ranked power play. The Penguins went 0 for 7 with the man advantage as the unit continues to struggle without center Evgeni Malkin, who is out for at least two weeks with a foot injury.
Pittsburgh is 0-2 without Malkin and has dropped three straight overall. Though the Penguins remain in firm control of the Metropolitan Division, they failed to earn a point, postponing their eighth straight trip to the playoffs.
The Kings have spent most of the season muddling in the middle of the loaded Western Conference but are peaking as the postseason nears. They pulled out a 5-4 shootout win in Washington on Tuesday, roaring back from two goals down in the third to earn the victory.
There would be no heroics necessary this time as the Kings tied the club mark for consecutive road wins set from Dec. 18, 1974-Jan. 16, 1975.
Dustin Brown left a perfect drop pass from Doughty early in the third and blasted it past Zatkoff to help the Kings recover after blowing a two-goal lead.
The Penguins appeared to tie it midway through the third when Sutter stuffed the puck by Jones, with the forward sprawling into the net while getting checked from behind. The red light came on, but officials ruled Sutter interfered with Jones.
Consider it the latest tough break in a series of them for a team that was cruising atop the Eastern Conference before the Olympic break.
The Penguins took the day off on Wednesday, cancelling practice after a lackluster 3-2 loss to St. Louis the day before. Pittsburgh held a brief players-only meeting after the loss, which dropped the team to 6-6-2 since the break.
It was hard to tell whether the rest helped early, as the Kings sprinted to a 2-0 lead.
Carter deflected Marian Gaborik’s slap shot past Zatkoff for his 26th goal of the season 15:23 into the game. The Kings made it 2-0 on a similar play 6:59 into the second as Tyler Toffoli was parked in front of Zatkoff and provided a perfect screen for Martinez’s shot from the point.
Pittsburgh responded 34 seconds later when Kunitz poked in a rebound for his 33rd goal. Pyatt added his fourth of the season to tie it. His knuckling wrist shot hit Jones in the blocker pad and flipped over the goalie’s shoulder and rolled into the net.
NOTES: Penguins C Marcel Goc left in the second period after injuring his left leg while getting checked into the boards behind the Los Angeles net and didn’t return. … The Kings are 33-8-4 when scoring first. … Carter has 13 points in his last 17 games. … The Penguins play at Columbus on Friday. … The Kings begin a three-game homestand on Saturday against Winnipeg.