NEW YORK – The Los Angeles Kings often work overtime. And it’s paying off for them in a big way.
Tanner Pearson’s goal with 1:50 left in the extra period powered the Kings to a 5-4 win over the New York Rangers on Friday night.
Anze Kopitar recorded a hat trick and Marian Gaborik added a goal for Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles, which has won three of its last five. The Kings (33-18-3) are 8-1 in the NHL’s new 3-on-3 overtime format, and 2-2 in shootouts.
“We’ve had good luck 3-on-3,” Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said. “Our record is right there and that is probably why we are in a playoff spot.”
Peter Budaj made 24 saves in his season debut start. Budaj, who spent the season with the Kings’ AHL farm team in Ontario, California, last played in the NHL on May 17, 2014, when he replaced injured Montreal Canadiens starting goaltender Carey Price in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. Budaj allowed three goals on eight shots in that one, a 7-2 Rangers win.
“It was very nice to come back,” Budaj said. “I was very excited.
“I don’t think it could be better than that.”
Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello each finished with a goal and an assist for New York, which lost for the first time since Feb. 2. Viktor Stalberg and Derek Stepan also scored for the Rangers. Antti Raanta stopped 29 of 34 shots in his first start since Jan. 17.
“I was really nervous the first couple periods,” said Raanta, who allowed three goals on 21 shots in the first two periods before making 11 saves in the third and overtime. “I couldn’t play my own game. I was moving too much so I wasn’t set any time the shot was coming.”
Sabres 6, Canadiens 4
In Buffalo, Marcus Foligno scored twice, including once on a penalty shot, and the Sabres hung on to snap a four-game skid.
Penguins 2, Hurricanes 1 (SO)
In Raleigh, North Carolina, Kris Letang scored on the final shot of a shootout,and Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves.
Avalanche 3, Red Wings 2 (SO)
In Detroit, Semyon Varlamov made 43 saves and Blake Comeau scored in both the third period and the shootout.
Lightning 4, Predators 3 (OT)
In Tampa, Steven Stamkos had the tying goal late in the third period, and Tyler Johnson won it 1:04 into overtime.
Blues 5, Panthers 3
In Sunrise, Florida, David Backes, Jaden Schwartz and Robby Fabbri scored in the first period and St. Louis cruised past the Panthers.
Coyotes 4, Flames 1
In Glendale, Arizona, Shane Doan had two goals and an assist to become the Coyotes’ franchise leader with 931 career points during the Coyotes’ win over Calgary.