Anze Kopitar (13), Jarret Stoll (4) and Michal Handzus (6) scored in a span of nearly six minutes in the third period and winger Dustin Brown (5) added a late goal at 17:30 in the period as the Los Angeles over-came a 2-1 deficit to score four third period goals en route to a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday night at the Staples Center.
Pittsburgh which jumped out to a 2-1 lead going into the third period on goals from Jordan Staal (4) and Chris Kunitz (3) had a number of defensive breakdowns in the third period to suffer their first road loss (7-1) of the season.
The Penguins were without key members Sergei Gonchar (wrist) and Evgeni Malkin (Right shoulder strained) but were also missing right winger Tyler Kennedy (groin) who was a surprise scratch after participating in the morning skate.
Kennedy remains bothered by a groin injury that has made him miss four out of the past five games.
Penguins goaltender Marc Andre Fleury (10-3) had his worst outing of the season surrendering 5 goals on 32 shots. Fleury came into the game with the second best goals against average (2.14) in the league.
Pittsburgh which took the loss hard after the game, will look to regroup as the team travels to San Jose for a meeting with the Sharks Saturday night.
“We didn’t play great, and sometimes you get away with that,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “It’s a good lesson for us. We have gotten away with bad periods in the past, but tonight we didn’t. We didn’t capitalize on our chances and we didn’t play well in the third, and in a tight game like that, you can’t afford for that to happen.”
Pittsburgh went 0-for-3 on the power play and are now 0-for-17 on the man advantage without Evgeni Malkin.
The Los Angeles Kings came into their contest with the Penguins on a mission to prove that they could compete with the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
They passed their early test as the Kings improved to 6-0-2 over their last eight games and 10-4-2 on the season.
Anze Kopitar, the NHL’s points leader (26) scored twice for the Kings and was matched up against Sidney Crosby for most of the night who was held pointless.
A number of Penguins players indicated after the game how impressed they were with the way the Kings were pressing the entire game in the offensive zone.
Goaltender Jonathan Quick made 21 saves for the Kings to earn his 10th win of the season.
LA Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi received his Stanley Cup ring from Penguins ownership Thursday morning.
Due to Tyler Kennedy being a late scratch, winger Chris Conner returned to the lineup. Conner had an assist on Jordan Staal’s first period tally and recorded 11:11 of ice time.