LOS ANGELES â€” The Kings hit iron with an extraordinary number of shots Saturday night, culminating in a late backhand by Kyle Clifford that somehow struck both sides of Winnipeg’s goal without going in.
“He can’t hit the net, but he can hit both posts,” Los Angeles defenceman Jake Muzzin said jokingly of his low-scoring buddy.
Dustin Brown and Jeff Carter made sure all those near-misses didn’t matter for the surging Kings.
Carter scored his 23rd goal of the season at 1:36 of overtime and Los Angeles rallied for its fifth victory in seven games, 3-2 over the Jets on Saturday night.
After Brown tied it on a rebound goal with 5:08 left in regulation, Carter converted Muzzin’s 100th career NHL assist for the All-Star’s eighth game-winning goal of the season. Captain Anze Kopitar had three assists for Los Angeles, which improved to 9-1 in overtime this season with another clutch finish to another grinding offensive night.
“We stay with our program and keep the same mindset,” Muzzin said. “Just keep shooting. You’re going to get it. … We hit a lot of posts, and we had a lot of opportunities and scrambles. We just capitalized on one and that got us to a tie and put us into overtime.”
Marian Gaborik also scored and Peter Budaj stopped 26 shots for the Kings, who unearthed just enough offence to earn their third win in five games on their seven-game homestand.
Dustin Byfuglien scored Winnipeg’s second power-play goal with 12:22 to play, but the Jets lost for the fourth time in five games despite bouncing back solidly from an embarrassing loss.
The Jets held a closed-doors player meeting Friday after losing to the last-place Coyotes . They responded with a good effort in front of Michael Hutchinson, who made 35 saves in his first start since Dec. 29 on the Jets’ second stop on a three-game West Coast road trip.
“You have to like the way we played,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. “We didn’t like the result, but we liked our game. I’m sure we can draw confidence from this.”
Drew Stafford also scored a power-play goal and Mathieu Perreault had two assists for Winnipeg.
The Kings paid for several careless penalties when Byfuglien’s go-ahead wrist shot deflected off Kopitar’s skate for the tireless defenceman’s third goal in seven games.
But Brown then stood in front of Winnipeg’s net with Gaborik and capitalized by controlling a rebound of Kopitar’s shot for the tying goal.
“Our effort level was there, and we battled hard,” Hutchinson said. “LA is a tough team to play in their home rink, a lot of big bodies out there, and our team, we battled hard. … Tonight was all about effort. We gave up an early goal, but we didn’t let that get to us and we kept battling.”
Gaborik put the Kings ahead less than four minutes in, getting just his third goal in 21 games off a slick cross-ice feed from Kopitar. The forwards were frequent linemates in 2014 when the Kings rolled to a Stanley Cup title, but they’ve been in and out of partnerships since then.
NOTES: The Kings have never lost a regulation game at home to the current incarnation of the Jets or their predecessors, the Atlanta Thrashers. … Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine missed his fourth straight game with a concussion, depriving Los Angeles fans of their first chance to see the high-scoring rookie. Laine was selected for the All-Star Game at Staples Center in two weeks, but his availability is in question. … Jets D Ben Chiarot missed his second straight game with an illness. Mark Stuart played again in Chiarot’s place. … Gaborik has two goals in four games after managing just one in the first 17 games of his season, which began late due to injury. … Kopitar’s four-game scoring streak is the longest of his disappointing offensive season. The Selke Trophy winner has been the Kings’ leading scorer for nine consecutive seasons, but he trails Carter by 16 points this year.
Jets: At Sharks on Monday.
Kings: Host Lightning on Monday.
Greg Beacham, The Associated Press