LAS VEGAS — Adrian Kempe scored his second goal in overtime and the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 on Friday night.
Andreas Athanasiou and Phillip Danault also scored for Los Angeles. Jonathan Quick had 21 saves to improve to 5-8-1 in his career against Vegas.
The Kings overcame deficits of two goals in the first period, and one goal in the second to improve to 11-5-2 since Dec. 30. The 24 points in that span are tied for ninth with the Dallas Stars.
“We’ve done it multiple times this year,” Kempe said, of the Kings’ knack for coming from behind. “We know that even if we were down one or two goals, we always have that identity and mentality that we can come back in games. I feel like this year we don’t give up at all, even if we’re down two goals we keep grinding and grinding and grinding.”
On the winner, Sean Durzi controlled the puck long enough at the circle during a rush, pulling Brossoit to his far left, before sending a pass across the slot for Kempe to tap into a wide-open net.
The win allowed Los Angeles to move into a tie for third place with Edmonton (57 points) in the Pacific Division. Vegas is alone in second with 60 points.
Max Pacioretty had two goals and Reilly Smith also scored for the Golden Knights. Laurent Brossoit, appearing in his 100th career game, made 27 saves.
It was Vegas’ third straight loss and second in a row at home.
“In the past, that (two-goal deficit) was probably enough in this building for us to just scramble through the rest of the night,” Los Angeles coach Todd Mclellan said. “I’m proud of the way the guys fought back.”
Pacioretty opened the scoring when he gathered a loose puck just to the right of Quick, spun perfectly, and found the back of the net for a power-play goal, making it 1-0 at 8:11 of the first period. The goal ended a 147:57 scoreless drought for the Knights, who were shut out in their previous two games.
William Karlsson keyed the next score, creating a turnover in the neutral zone, and finding Jonathan Marchessault at the blue line. Marchessault skated into the zone and fed Smith, who one-timed it over Quick to give Vegas a 2-0 lead.
The Kings didn’t take long to answer, as Athanasiou created his own breakaway when he flipped the puck past defenseman Nic Hague, broke free and skated in on Brossoit, and went backhand-forehand to cut Vegas’ lead in half with his 99th career goal.
Golden Knights center Chandler Stephenson was called for unsportsmanlike conduct at the end of the first period for tripping Matt Roy, giving the Kings a power play at puck drop of the second. And Los Angeles didn’t let the opportunity pass, as Kempe fired far side from the left circle, beating Brossoit in the top corner to knot the game at 2-all.
Pacioretty put Vegas back on top at 6:33 of the second when he fired a wrist shot on net from the edge of the circle. After hitting the post, the puck redirected off Quick’s back and trickled over the goal line.
Once again, the Kings tied the game when Viktor Arvidsson led Danault perfectly, springing him through a pair of Knights for a quick break to beat Brossoit glove side, making it 3-3 with 2:43 left in the middle period.
Pacioretty said there was no excuse for the team’s sloppy play in the third period, which was seemingly when the Kings played their best hockey to stay in the game.
“There was no flow in the third period,” Pacioretty said. “We have to do a better job of playing against a desperate team like that to make sure that we outcompete them and find a way to play with confidence with the puck.”
NOTES: Drew Doughty’s primary assist on Kempe’s goal pushed him past Bernie Nicholls (431) for sixth on the Kings’ all-time assist list. … Also assisting on Kempe’s goal was Anze Kopitar, who leads the Kings with 28 points against Vegas (11 goals, 17 assists). … After making his debut with the team on Wednesday, Jack Eichel registered his first point as a member of the Golden Knights with an assist on Pacioretty’s second goal. … Vegas dropped to 6-4 in OT games
Kings: At Arizona on Saturday night.
Golden Knights: At San Jose on Sunday.