Kings blow lead but top Senators in OT

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGLES -- In the early portion of the season, the Los Angeles Kings cannot find any consistency.

One good period followed by a mediocre one.

One sharp shift ahead of two sloppy ones.

The unpredictability continued Wednesday with the Kings blowing a three-goal lead before Jeff Carter rescued them with an overtime goal, lifting Los Angeles to a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators at Staples Center.

Carter scored his second goal of the night on a tip-in 28 seconds into overtime just as a power play was ending. Ottawa's Clarke MacArthur was whistled for hooking at 18:28 of the third period.

Carter took advantage of the Senators' lack of attention at the net.

"They just left me there alone," said Carter, who has scored in three of the Kings' first four games, tallying four goals and one assist. "We saw it in the power play before, (Dustin) Brown was sitting at the net for 30 seconds by himself, so I knew if they get a shot through, I got to get a stick on it."

The Senators are aware of the issue.

"We've got to get better at it," Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson said. "That's the bottom line. Last year we had a great penalty kill, and obviously we have many of the same guys that are on that same penalty kill. It's just a matter of bearing down and maybe getting some puck luck on our side."

Ottawa defensemen Chris Phillips added, "We've got to look at it and see where we can improve and go from there. We need to look at the video and break it down to see where we're going wrong. If you're in your right spots and trying to do the right things and be in the right places, sometimes you have to tip your hat and not get too down."

The Senators (1-0-2) answered the Kings' three first-period goals by spreading three of their own over the next two to force overtime.

"We showed a lot of composure on not getting down and battling back," Phillips said. "Obviously disappointing to not get the win after that, but at the same time, we'll take the point after the way we started."

The Kings (2-2-0) received a huge lift from Brown, who carried the team in the early going and set an intimidating tone.

Brown, the Kings' rugged right wing and spiritual leader, drew two first-period penalties on the Senators, scored two goals and was a key part of another to stake the Kings to a 3-0 lead at the first intermission.

He began the scoring with a flurried dash out of the penalty box early in the first period and a spirited skate up the right wing, knocking the puck past Anderson at 6:39.

"The first goal he scored, isn't that being physical?" Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "When he's driving the net, that's the physical part of it."

Then Brown drew a roughing penalty from Zach Smith, putting the Kings on the power play that led to Carter flipping the puck over a sprawling Anderson for a 2-0 lead at 12:31.

"We just want to establish that home mentality that we had last year," said Brown, whose team begins a four-game road trip with a contest against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday. "Obviously it wasn't as clean as we wanted to, but we got the job done. I think it was just important to get a good feeling going into this road trip because we got long travel tomorrow."

Carter and Brown teamed up five minutes later, with Carter feeding a pass to Brown, who rocketed a shot past Anderson. The Kings led 3-0, and their dispirited effort two nights earlier against the New York Rangers was a distant memory.

The Senators, in the early stages of a grueling six-game road trip to begin the season, began their comeback at 6:06 of the second period.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau found an opening past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick to inch the Senators within 3-1.

Bobby Ryan found the net beyond Quick on a power play at 5:58 of the third to make it 3-2.

At 15:33 of the third, Milan Michalek tied the score at 3 after a scramble in front following a shot by Joe Corvo that was blocked short of the goalie.

Quick finished with 22 saves. Anderson made 28 saves.

NOTES: Kings C Anze Kopitar, who had two assists, has recorded a helper in three of the first four games of the season. ... The hesitant play of Kings D Jake Muzzin caught Sutter's eye. "He's struggling a lot," Sutter said. "Went through it last year. He's a young defenseman. There's a lot of pressure on him. You saw it in the playoffs last year. He was a healthy scratch. We're going through that same thing again. You're not going to win many games if you're a guy who's playing significant minutes and you're a high minus player." ... C Jason Spezza, the Senators' captain, was held out of the game with a groin ailment. Spezza hoped to play against the Kings but he was overruled by the coaching staff. "We don't want this groin injury to become a problem," coach Paul MacLean said. ... The Senators visit the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.
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