Kings finish strong to beat Penguins, 5-2
Jarrett Stoll scored the go-ahead goal with 7:51 to play, and the Los Angeles Kings roared from behind with a four-goal third period in a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.
Jonathan Quick made 21 saves in a standout performance for the Kings, who ended the Penguins' season-opening, seven-game road winning streak.
NHL scoring leader Anze Kopitar's second goal tied it early in the third for the Kings, who improved to 6-0-2 in their last eight games for the club's longest point streak since November 2000.
Los Angeles dramatically took charge late after two frustrating periods against the defending champions. Michal Handzus scored on a rebound just 23 seconds after Stoll's one-timer on a clever pass from captain Dustin Brown.
Brown added a goal with 2:30 left during a delayed penalty, putting a flourish on a victory that could signal the Kings' early-season excellence is for real.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 shots but couldn't slow down the third-period barrage by the Kings, who haven't lost in regulation since Oct. 17. Two nights after erasing a late two-goal deficit at Phoenix for a 5-3 win, the Kings again finished strong
Jordan Staal and Chris Kunitz scored for the Penguins, who lead the Eastern Conference with 24 points. Pittsburgh opened its four-game road trip on Tuesday with a 4-3 win at Anaheim, matching the longest road winning streak in franchise history with just the Penguins' second win in California in nearly 11 years.
Pittsburgh dropped to 2-2 without Evgeni Malkin, last season's NHL scoring champion, who's out with a strained shoulder. Defenseman Sergei Gonchar also is out.
Just 27 seconds after the opening faceoff, Kopitar scored when Pittsburgh's poor transition defense allowed Justin Williams to slip the puck to him for an unimpeded rush at the net. He easily deked Fleury out of position for his 12th goal - but 43 seconds later, Staal fired a long slap shot past Quick for his fourth goal.
Pittsburgh went ahead midway through the second period when Kunitz made a mid-air deflection of Brooks Orpik's shot, rattling it off the far post behind Quick for his third goal of the season.
Los Angeles outshot Pittsburgh for most of the night, but Quick made a handful of stunning saves on the Penguins' few chances.
The Kings finally were rewarded when Kopitar corralled the rebound of Williams' shot behind the net and swung it around to beat a sprawling Fleury with a backhand. The goal was Kopitar's ninth in eight games during his breakout season.
NOTES: Kings C Michal Handzus was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the second period for shooting the puck at Fleury one moment after the referees stopped play for a penalty. Kings coach Terry Murray vehemently argued the unusual ruling, to no avail. ... Penguins captain Sidney Crosby made the second appearance of his career at Staples Center.