Kings avoid collapse in OT win against Lightning, 4-3

Yannick Peterhans-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles surrendered a 2-score lead in the final 5 minutes of regulation but managed to sink the Lightning in overtime.

With a perfect 3-0 home stand on the line, the Kings welcomed the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning to town. Tampa Bay had won their previous 5 games coming into Saturday night’s contest. Los Angeles was able to set the tone early as Adrian Kempe’s 22nd goal of the season broke the ice and gave them a 1-0 lead. In the final minute of the opening period, however, Brayden Point delivered a power-play goal for the Lightning to even the game at 1 heading into the first intermission.

The Kings quickly got themselves back out in front as Trevor Moore nailed his 26th on the year to make it 2-1. That would be the only score of the second, and a close game headed to the third and final period as Los Angeles held the thin advantage. The Kings once again used a quick score to open the frame up strong as the second goal of the year from Mikey Anderson made it 3-1.

Cam Talbot had things looking promising for Los Angeles throughout the duration of the first 15 minutes, but Tampa Bay would suddenly use one last gasp to get back into the game. A score from Steven Stamkos with 4 and a half minutes to play made it a 3-2 game.

With 46 seconds left, Stamkos yet again delivered in the clutch to tie the game at 3 and leave the Crypto.com Arena crowd stunned. Fortunately, the Kings quickly knocked off the negative momentum and Vladislav Gavrikov drained the game-winner just 25 seconds into overtime. It wasn’t pretty by any means, but Los Angeles escaped with a big-time win and put the Lightning winning streak to an end.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Trevor Moore sets a new career-high

The Los Angeles Kings’ goal leader for the length of the season struck once again on Saturday to grab himself a nice career milestone. Trevor Moore entered the game with 48 points total, tied for his most in a season throughout his career so far. However, he was able to deliver a second-period score for his 26th goal of the season and 49th point.

The 6-year man out of Thousand Oaks now has a new career-high in points with 12 games yet to be played in the regular season. He’s been a key part of the roster this year, providing numerous clutch moments and reliability. Moore will look to help lead the charge for the Kings as they return to the postseason for the third consecutive campaign. They will certainly need his goal-scoring to be in full force if they wish to make some noise when it counts.

Kings power-play defense streak comes to and end

With the Lightnings’ two power-play goals against Los Angeles, they were the first team to tally multiple power-play goals in a game against the Kings since December 13th. It was on this day that the Jets did it in a 5-2 victory over Los Angeles. From that point on, the squad managed to go 44 games without allowing more than one power-play goal in a game. They were just 2 games away from tying the Dallas Stars’ 46-game streak, which went down from October 12th, 2023 to Jan 21, 2024. The streak for the Kings was the longest such streak in franchise history, and unfortunately, it has now come to an end.

Hopefully, the overtime victory will make it an easier pill to swallow for Los Angeles. Streak or not, they have still managed to do an incredible job this season at limiting opponent success in power-play situations. The other 31 NHL clubs have combined for just 32 goals with an extra man on the ice this season against the Kings, which is a league-best for Los Angeles. With the rest of the season’s schedule consisting of matchups against some tough opponents, power-play defense will continue to be a critical area of execution that could make the difference between a couple of huge wins and gutting losses.

Mikey Anderson snaps goal drought, Gavrikov drills dagger

It was quite the evening for Mikey Anderson, who was able to deliver his first goal in 54 games. The 24-year-old is playing in his 5th season and has appeared in 50+ games in 4/5 years. After scoring just 5 goals last season, 2023-2024 has seen even less action. After scoring his 1st goal of the season on October 27th in a 5-4 win over the Coyotes, Anderson began the 54-game drought. He finally snapped it on Saturday as he got the puck past Andrei Vasilevskiy on a fast break to give the Kings a 3-1 lead.

It would end up being a critical goal for Los Angeles as they ended up allowing 2 late goals and needing the overtime session to get the job done. Anderson now has 17 points this season and sits just three away from tying his career high. Another Kings player with a huge moment in the win was Vladislav Gavrikov. As Los Angeles stumbled into overtime after Steven Stamkos single-handedly lifted the Lightning from their grave, Gavrikov knew what time it was. It only took him 25 seconds to score the game-winner and hand Tampa Bay their 7th overtime loss of the season.

Kempe was able to set him up perfectly with a clear lane towards the net as he blasted it home to send the crowd into a frenzy. The Kings improved their overtime record this season to 4-6, and they have now won back-to-back overtime games. Gavrikov’s score was the fifth-fastest overtime goal in franchise history for Los Angeles. The season series between the two clubs finished 1-1 for the second consecutive season, with both games this year going to overtime. It was a huge win for the Kings as they managed to sweep their homestand (3-0) and secure their 8th win in the last 12 games.

The squad will now take a trip north of the border to Vancouver as they square off with the Canucks on Monday night. It will be another big game standings-wise for Los Angeles, who looks to steal a win from a Vancouver team that currently holds first place in the Pacific Division. Perhaps more importantly, the Kings are within 3 points of the Oilers for second place in the division. A victory would help them get even closer to Edmonton while simultaneously preventing the Golden Knights from pulling any closer in the standings.

The game is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. PT.