LOS ANGELES (AP) — When the Los Angeles Kings knocked the San Jose Sharks out of the playoffs last season in the second round, five of the seven games were decided by one-goal margins. It was more of the same Wednesday night in the first meeting of the season between the Pacific Division rivals.
Anze Kopitar scored on a power play 2:32 into overtime after setting up Justin Williams' tying power play goal with 7:39 left in the third period, and the Kings rallied from behind three times to beat the Sharks 4-3. Drew Doughty and Jarret Stoll also had goals and Jonathan Quick stopped 17 shots, helping the Kings win for the eighth time in 11 games.
"They have established themselves as the best team in the Western Conference so far this season," Williams said. "We needed a come-from-behind win, and we got it. It took is (62 1-2) minutes, but eventually we got it done. They were hounding the puck at both ends. It was a battle. There was not a free inch of ice out there, it seems. They're a tough team to play."
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture scored for the Sharks, who finished the first month of the season 10-1-2 and set a franchise record for wins in October. Antti Niemi made 19 saves in the finale of a 3-2 road trip.
"We would have liked to finish them off and grab the two points," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. "I thought we played well and probably deserved better."
Williams got the equalizer on a pass from Kopitar, beating Niemi high to the glove side after the Sharks were assessed their second bench minors of the game for having too many men on the ice.
"When we have the lead we should be able to shut it down," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "Penalties are an issue — and too many men on the ice is an issue for me. For it to happen twice to the same line and the same individual is unacceptable If you take those situations out of the game, it was a pretty even game."
Kopitar got the game-winner on a one-timer from the slot on a pass from Doughty, after Sharks defenseman Justin Braun was sent off for hooking Jeff Carter as he carried the puck to the net.
"It's probably the closest you can get to playoff hockey this time of the year," Kopitar said after the Kings played their third game in four nights. "I thought it was a lot of intensity, a lot of hitting. As usual when we play these guys, whoever wins the special teams usually comes out on top."
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