Kings' third-period comeback leaves St. Louis blue

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- First came fight night, then came fright night and finally one mighty push.
The result was a roller-coaster ride fit for nearby Six Flags Magic Mountain as the Los Angeles Kings traded punches, goals and momentum with the St. Louis Blues.
And when the ride finally ended, the Kings owned a wild 6-4 victory at Staples Center and created some much needed breathing room between themselves and the Blues.
It was all thanks to a five-goal onslaught between the end of the second period and the middle of the third in which the Kings came roaring back from a 4-1 deficit to first draw even and then take complete control.
Slava Voynov got it started late in the second period, finding the net behind Jaroslav Halak to make it 4-2.
At the time it seemed like an innocent goal, but in reality the catalyst the Kings turnaround.
"It gave them momentum," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said.
Said Kings' rookie Jake Muzzin, who had a career-high three points on two goals and an assist: "Four-2 looks a lot better than 4-1, that's for sure. But we knew we had a lot of work to do."
That they did, but they got right at it in the third by drawing even less than three minutes in on goals by Mike Richards and Muzzin.
"We just wanted to keep chipping away," Kings center Anze Kopitar said.
The game-winner went to red-hot Jeff Carter, who beat Jaroslav Halak with a wrist shot with 13:51 left in the game to give the Kings and 5-4 lead and chase Halak in favor of Brian Elliott.
One night after getting the hat trick against the Nashville Predators, Carter got the clincher against the Blues to add to his torrid recent play. Carter has 11 goals in his last 11 games
Kopitar put it away with 5:06 remaining, beating Elliott over his left shoulder to make it 6-4.
"We decided we were going to throw everything at them and we did," Kopitar said.
The Kings have won six straight at home and nine of their last 11 overall.
Meanwhile, the Blues haven't won in Southern California since 2011.
For a while it looked like as if they would snap their losing combined losing streak against the Kings and the Anaheim Ducks after taking a 4-1 lead in the second period on goals by David Perron and Chris Stewart.
But the Blues got a little sloppy from there, surrendering the goal to Voynov and with it some momentum.
"We played a hell of a hockey game but we turned the puck over and then lost a little bit of composure in the third period." Hitchcock said.
The game was marred early on by three fights, the two Western Conference powers adamantly staking their positions and conceding nothing while accumulating a combined 40 minutes in penalties in the opening period.
In all, the Kings Colin Fraser squared up against Barret Jackman, followed by the Blues Roman Polak fighting Kyle Clifford and culminating with Dwight King of the Kings mixing it up with Ryan Reaves -- each resulting in five-minute major penalties.
No big surprise, considering the two teams came in tied for points with 24 in a conference logjam in which five teams are tied for the 6-10 spots in the standings. It figured to be a physical game and that's exactly what it was.
"You don't want to get pushed around and our guys did a good job not getting pushed around," Kopitar said. "It's nice to see, it builds up a little energy on the bench and we were able to use it."
When the dust settled it was the Blues taking a 2-1 lead on goals by Alex Pietrangelo and Vladimir Sobotka, the Kings answering with a lone goal from Muzzin.
As it turned out, the wild first period was simply a prelude to an even wilder game in which both starting goalies were pulled and the Kings climbed out of a 4-1 hole.
"They came out with a good push, give them credit for playing hard," Muzzin said. "But also give credit to us. We hung in there, came back and got a great win."
NOTES: In winning eight of their last 10 games, the Kings are piling up the individual numbers. Anze Kopitar has 18 points over his last 17 games, 13 in the last 11 and nine in the last six. ... The Kings will play nine of their next 11 at home, where they are 6-1-1. ... The Kings have allowed just two third-period goals in their last eight games, one of which was an empty netter. ... St. Louis defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk's 17 points and Pietrangelo's 12 are tied for second and 15th respectively among NHL defensemen. ... Pietrangelo's 12 points give him 63 since 2011-12, tied for third among all defensemen. ... Halak has a 6-2-0 career record against the Kings with a 1.70 GAA. He is 4-1-0 with a 1.93 GAA in five starts at Staples Center.

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