LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kings captain Anze Kopitar snapped a 13-game goal drought in regulation and scored again in the shootout, leading Los Angeles back from a two-goal deficit in the third period for a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.
Kopitar and Tanner Pearson scored early in the third to tie it for the Kings, who opened a seven-game homestand with a key win for their playoff hopes.
Jonathan Quick stopped 29 shots and denied all three Maple Leafs players in the shootout, propelling Los Angeles to its first shootout victory in four tries since Oct. 22.
Tyler Bozak and Nikita Zaitsev scored early goals for the Maple Leafs, losers of four straight. Toronto also fell to 1-8 in shootouts this season.
Jarome Iginla played nearly 16 minutes in his debut with the Kings, who acquired the 39-year-old veteran from Colorado at the trade deadline on Wednesday. Wearing a black No. 88 jersey, Iginla got a warm reception from the sellout crowd at Staples Center.
Frederik Andersen made 33 saves in his first trip back to Southern California since the Anaheim Ducks traded him to Toronto in the offseason.
The Kings opened a seven-game homestand that could determine whether they miss the postseason for the second time in three seasons since winning their second Stanley Cup title in 2014. Los Angeles began the night one point behind St. Louis for the second wild card in the Western Conference.
Bozak put the Maple Leafs ahead early in the first period, capitalizing on a fortunate rebound for his 15th goal. He has five 15-goal seasons during his eight-year career in Toronto.
Zaitsev then scored on a long shot through traffic in the second period after Brian Boyle won a faceoff. The Russian defenseman might have received a fortunate deflection to beat Quick, who appeared to be badly screened.
After 93 minutes of play without a goal, the Kings’ scoring struggles ended when Kopitar’s shot hit Zaitsev in the helmet and bounced past Andersen during a power play. Almost incredibly, Kopitar didn’t score a goal in February.
Pearson tied it 90 seconds later with his 22nd goal, nimbly keeping the puck away from Andersen’s poke-check and sliding it under the Danish goalie.
NOTES: Boyle’s assist was his first point since joining Toronto in a trade with Tampa Bay. … Kings forward Nick Shore was sidelined early in the game with an upper-body injury. … Toronto forward Josh Leivo was an apparently healthy scratch despite scoring nine points in the previous eight games. … Andersen played his 10,000th NHL minute.
Maple Leafs: At the Ducks on Friday to finish a three-game California road swing.
Kings: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
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