LOS ANGELES — Anze Kopitar scored the tying goal with 4:10 to play and tipped home the winner at 1:34 of overtime, propelling the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday night.
Kopitar deflected a slap shot by Jake Muzzin to end it in dramatic fashion for the Pacific Division-leading Kings, who rallied from a two-goal deficit for their third straight win over a certain playoff team. Los Angeles won after trailing to start the third period for the NHL-best eighth time this season.
After tipping home a shot by Milan Lucic to force OT, Kopitar got his first multi-goal game since his hat trick against the Rangers last month.
J.T. Miller had a goal and an assist for the Rangers, who haven’t won back-to-back games in March. Dan Boyle and Kevin Hayes also scored for the Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist made 33 saves in his fourth consecutive loss in a winless March.
Dustin Brown had a goal and an assist, and Jeff Carter had three assists for the Pacific Division-leading Kings, who pulled six points ahead of the Anaheim Ducks in their quest for their second division title in franchise history.
Hayes put New York up 3-1 early in the third, but the Kings surged back.
Clifford got his second goal in 45 games just two minutes after Hayes’ score, converting a fine pass from Jeff Carter.
Kopitar then tipped home a shot by Milan Lucic for his 23rd goal. The score survived a challenge by Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, who thought Tyler Toffoli interfered with Lundqvist while standing in the crease.
Lundqvist faced the Kings for the first time since the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, when the Kings rolled to a five-game series victory and their second NHL championship in three years despite the usual stalwart netminding by the Swedish goalie.
Miller and Brown traded goals 19 seconds apart in an entertaining first period. Brown has been scrutinized for his meagre offensive production and large contract for much of the season, but the Kings’ veteran leader is on his first three-game goal streak since March 2013.
Boyle put the Rangers back ahead with a snap shot after a turnover by Brown, beating Quick high for his seventh goal of the season. The 39-year-old defenceman hadn’t scored a goal in 13 games since Feb. 17.
NOTES: The Kings haven’t lost in regulation to any team except Anaheim since Feb. 16. … New York F Oscar Lindberg was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. … The Rangers conclude their road trip Saturday night at the Shark Tank. … Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh played after getting hit near the face by a shot at the buzzer in Anaheim on Wednesday night. … Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and actress Olivia Munn attended the game.