Los Angeles Kings sweep Vegas Golden Knights
February 28, 2018 9:00 AM
by Nick Pellegrino
Rejuvenated by the return of center Jeff Carter and energized by several recent additions acquired at the NHL trade deadline, the Los Angeles Kings looked like the club which won two Stanley Cups at the start of the decade in sweeping a home-and-home series with the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Kings won in L.A. on Monday, 3-2 in overtime, then took Tuesday's contest at T-Mobile Arena, 4-1, to earn a season series split.
With the triumphs, Los Angeles barely vaulted back into a playoff berth, holding the No. 8 spot. The position is significant since Vegas maintains the top Western Conference slot, meaning the teams would meet in the conference semifinals should their position in the standings remains constant.
The Golden Knights allowed a 2-0 lead to slip away in the final seven minutes, as Anze Kopitar scored from the base of the right faceoff circle with 10.8 seconds left in regulation. The overtime winner was tallied by captain Dustin Brown.
L.A. scored twice in the second period to snap a 1-1 tie. Kings rookie goalie Jack Campbell recorded 41 saves for his first NHL victory. Kyle Clifford and Tyler Toffoli joined Kopitar and Carter with goals, as Los Angeles (35-24-5) moved ahead of the idle Anaheim Ducks into third place in the Pacific Division with its fifth win in seven games (5-2-0). San Jose is two points back.
William Karlsson scored his team-leading 34th goal for the Golden Knights (41-17-5), who are tied with Nashville for first place in the Western Conference, They trail Tampa Bay by two points for the NHL lead.
New Vegas forward Tomas Tatar played 12:38 in his debut in steel and gold, collecting four shots on goal and three hits in helping develop a sought-after physical presence. James Neal, who just returned after suffering the flu, suffered an undisclosed injury as did Oscar Lindberg.
The Knights host Ottawa on Friday at 7 p.m., then head to the east coast for a 5-game trip.
Knights Knotes: Vegas was 26-3 when scoring the first goal before falling in both contests with the Kings. Prior to the loss, the Golden Knights recalled forward Tomas Hyka from the AHL’s Chicago Wolves on an emergency basis. Hyka made his NHL debut against the Anaheim Ducks on Feb. 19 and scored his first career goal against Vancouver on Feb. 23. He has appeared in 35 games for the Wolves this season and recorded 34 points (13 G, 21 A) to go with two penalty minutes.