LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings took an early three-goal lead and then gave it all back to the Washington Capitals in the third period.
Jeff Carter made sure the Kings edged the NHL leaders in a thriller that might have a little extra meaning in a few months.
“If we want to win the Cup, there’s a good chance we’ll have to go through them,” Carter said.
Carter scored with 2:10 left in overtime and the Kings rebounded for a 4-3 victory over Washington on Wednesday night.
Vincent Lecavalier, Jake Muzzin and Milan Lucic scored in a dominant first period for the Kings, who reclaimed the Pacific Division lead from Anaheim with their seventh victory in nine games.
T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom and Dmitry Orlov scored in the third for the Capitals, who awoke from two somnolent periods for a furious finish. Braden Holtby stopped 26 shots in Washington’s second loss in six games.
“It’s a good experience for us because we bounced back against a good team,” said captain Alex Ovechkin, who is in his first four-game goal drought since mid-November. “We just can’t give teams too many chances.”
After both teams had golden overtime chances, Carter scored on an exceptional cross-ice pass from Lucic to end it. The teams and the standing-room-only crowd couldn’t miss the extra spark in this showdown, and they both hope they’ll get the chance to build on it in June.
Jonathan Quick made 29 saves as the NHL’s best defensive team held on late to beat Washington, which leads the league in scoring. Canucks 3, Coyotes 2 (OT)
In Vancouver, Markus Granlund scored 1:42 into overtime to help the Canucks beat Arizona.Flames 3, Predators 2 (OT)
In Calgary, Johnny Gaudreau scored twice 10 seconds apart in the first period, then set up Mikael Backlund’s winner in overtime to lead the Flames over Nashville. Avalanche 3, Ducks 0
In Denver, Semyon Varlamov stopped 37 shots, Nathan MacKinnon got his 21st goal and Colorado beat Anaheim to end the Ducks’ 14-game point streak. Blues 3, Blackhawks 2 (SO)
In St. Louis, Kevin Shattenkirk scored the decisive goal in the sixth round of the shootout to lift the Blues over Chicago for their fourth straight victory. Leafs 4, Islanders 3 (SO)
In Toronto, William Nylander scored the tying goal late in regulation and Nikita Soshnikov had the only goal of the shootout to carry the Maple Leafs past New York.