LOS ANGELES (AP) – Anze Kopitar scored the tiebreaking goal on a slick pass from Dwight King with 4:48 to play, and the Los Angeles Kings rallied from a third-period deficit for their fifth straight victory, 2-1 over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.
Jonathan Bernier made 32 saves for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who tied it with 9:34 left on Jeff Carter’s goal during a two-man advantage. King then made a spinning pass from the boards in front to Kopitar, who beat Jimmy Howard for his sixth goal of the season.
Howard stopped 27 shots for the Red Wings, who had won two straight after an 0-3-2 skid.
Kyle Quincey scored his first goal of the season on a misplay by Bernier in the first period.
Los Angeles is on its longest winning streak of the season, winning seven of eight overall after a 3-5-2 start to its title defense.
The Kings began with 50 scoreless minutes one day after trading seven-time, 20-goal scorer Simon Gagne to Philadelphia for a conditional draft pick. But late goals from two veteran stars thrilled the sellout crowd at Staples Center, where the Kings completed an unbeaten February run — albeit in just four home games.
Except for a misadventure with his glove on Quincey’s goal, Bernier was outstanding in the backup goalie’s fourth consecutive victory since Feb. 2.
Center Johan Franzen returned to Detroit’s lineup after missing seven games with a hip injury, and defenseman Brendan Smith returned from an 11-game absence with an injured shoulder. Quincey also returned after missing the last two games with an injured ankle.
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock used the injury turnover to shake up his lineup, benching defensemen Ian White and Kent Huskins.
Detroit dominated play early, taking a 9-1 shot advantage midway through the first period and scoring on a comical misplay by Bernier. After King gave away the puck, Quincey’s high shot toward the net popped out of Bernier’s glove and arced over his head, falling softly into the goal behind him.
Quincey hadn’t registered a point in 17 games this season, and hadn’t scored a goal since last March 19 against Washington.
Los Angeles showed more spark later, but its oft-struggling power play had a particularly low moment in the second period after three consecutive Red Wings penalties. Given two full minutes of 5-on-3 play, the Kings barely threatened Howard and the Detroit defensemen, who got a loud ovation from the red-clad fans crowding the lower bowl.
But the Kings got another 5-on-3 advantage midway through the third period when Pavel Datsyuk received a rare minor penalty for a faceoff violation, and Carter deflected Mike Richards’ shot through Howard’s legs for his 11th goal.
Carter scored a goal in his fifth straight game, one short of the longest streak of his career.
NOTES: Los Angeles LW Dustin Penner played in his 500th NHL game. He recently took the lineup spot of Gagne, who hadn’t scored a goal in 11 games this season. … Detroit D Carlo Colaiacovo is expected to return from a shoulder injury Sunday, which would put nine defensemen on the Red Wings roster. … Irish forward Robbie Keane attended the game along with most of the two-time defending MLS champion Los Angeles Galaxy, who begin their regular season Sunday.