Doughty’s OT goal gives Kings 7th straight win
LOS ANGELES — Despite putting together one of their better efforts this season, the desperate Ottawa Senators could not stop the surging Los Angeles Kings.
Lead once again by late-game heroics from their marquee players, the Kings remain the hottest team in the NHL.
Drew Doughty scored 32 seconds into overtime as Los Angeles defeated Ottawa 4-3 on Thursday night.
The Kings (19-8-3) won their seventh consecutive game, the longest streak in the NHL this season. Tanner Pearson, Alex Iafallo and Dustin Brown registered Los Angeles’ regulation goals, and Darcy Kuemper made 37 saves.
The Senators (9-11-7) fell for a third straight game and the 10th time in their past 11 (1-9-1). Matt Duchene, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Ryan Dzingel registered goals. Mike Condon made 34 saves.
Doughty finished a two-on-one break with Anze Kopitar, firing in a wrist shot to win the game.
The Kings, normally a dominating team in the third period, surrendered the game-tying goal in the final minute. They have outscored the opposition 41-14 in the third person this season and were on the verge of winning in regulation before Ottawa rallied to salvage a much-needed standings point.
Los Angeles coach John Stevens believes there is still room for improvement despite a run that has put the Kings at the top of the Pacific Division.
“I will be honest, that was not our best game tonight,” Stevens said. “Ottawa played last night, and they are in a stretch where they haven’t had a lot of success. We knew they were going to be a very dangerous team.”
Doughty concurred that the game was far from his team’s best effort.
“It was probably our worst game out of the last seven wins,” Doughty said. “We just don’t give up. Whether we’re down, whether we’re up, we’re trying to play the same way, and I think we’re doing a good job at that.”
The Senators put forth a far stronger effort than they displayed in consecutive shutout losses at Winnipeg on Sunday and at Anaheim on Wednesday. They rallied three times in the contest to send it to overtime. Duchene, who has struggled mightily since arrive in Ottawa via trade, scored for the first time in five games.
As he did after the Anaheim loss, Senators coach Guy Boucher chose to dwell on the positive aspects of his team’s performance despite not getting the desired outcome.
“The Kings are the hottest team in the league,” Boucher said. “We knew it was going to be difficult, but we came in and got 40 shots on goal. The effort was more than there tonight. The effort was remarkable.”
The Senators as a group have remained positive publicly, and Duchene still believes his team can reverse their tailspin with more efforts like this one.
“I think it was two very good teams kind of going at it,” Duchene said. “We played looser and were not afraid to lose. There were a lot of really good things tonight and we deserved a better result, that’s for sure. This one stings. I think going forward, we have to find a way to build on it.”
Brown tipped home a shot at 16:32 of the third period for his 12th goal of the season to give the Kings a 3-2 lead, but Dzingel’s ninth goal of the season at 19:50 with Condon pulled sent the game to overtime.
The Kings took a 1-0 lead on Pearson’s fifth goal of the season at 14:41 of the first period. Tyler Toffoli eluded Ottawa defenseman Ben Harpur and fed Pearson for the goal.
Ottawa evened the score at 1-1 on Duchene’s power-play goal, his sixth of the season at 16:24 of the first period. Duchene converted the rebound of a Bobby Ryan tip.
Iafallo gave the Kings a 2-1 lead with his second goal of the season at 5:18 of the second period. Iafallo’s wrist shot from the top of the left faceoff circle beat Condon.
The Senators tied the game at 2-2 on Pageau’s third goal of the season at 8:08 of the second period. Pageau backhanded a rebound of a Harpur shot on a play initiated by Gabriel Dumont.
NOTES: Los Angeles executed a minor trade after the game, sending F Nic Dowd to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for D Jordon Subban. ... Ottawa scratched D Fredrik Claesson. ... The Senators continue their season-high, seven-game road trip on Saturday against the San Jose Sharks. ... Kings C Andy Andreoff was activated from injured reserve, but he did not dress. ... Los Angeles also scratched D Oscar Fantenberg and Dowd. ... The Kings conclude their three-game homestand against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.