Thursday, October 27, 2016

Martinez gets OT winner in Kings' 3-2 victory over Columbus

 Alec Martinez has scored slightly bigger overtime goals than this one for the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center.
The defenseman still realizes the journey to Stanley Cup glory starts with doing the right things in October.
Martinez scored 1:14 into extra time, and the Kings rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Tuesday night for their third straight victory.
After Drew Doughty scored the tying goal with 5:57 left in regulation, Martinez ended it by putting a rebound of Tanner Pearson's shot into an open net.
"Pearson had a good shot," Martinez said. "I don't know if it hit armpit or some far pad, but it was just lying there. I was able to put it in, but again, those guys did the work. I just picked up scraps."
The goal was the second overtime score in three games by Martinez, who also beat Dallas last Thursday with his only other goal this season. He entered Kings history when he ended the 2014 Stanley Cup Final with an overtime goal past Henrik Lundqvist to clinch Los Angeles' second championship.
Captain Anze Kopitar also scored for the Kings, who won their third straight overtime game after an 0-3-0 start to the season.
"I think we're finally playing in a rhythm," Martinez said. "The first few games, with every game, we got better in certain areas. We were just out of sync, and I think that we're finally playing more of a north-south game."
Third-string goalie Peter Budaj stopped 19 shots in his third consecutive win for Los Angeles, remaining unbeaten since taking over for injured Jonathan Quick and Jeff Zatkoff.
Cam Atkinson scored a tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves for the Jackets, who had won two straight after an 0-2-0 start. Brandon Saad also scored for Columbus, which got a taste of hard-hitting hockey in the opener of its California road swing.
"We didn't generate enough (scoring chances)," Columbus coach John Tortorella said. "Give them credit. That's the way they play. They don't give up much, and it's about who blinks first. We were playing OK, but I just don't think we sustained enough of a forecheck to keep them from gaining some momentum."
After a scoreless first period largely controlled by Los Angeles, Saad put the Blue Jackets ahead with a close-range wrist shot off an odd-man rush. Saad, a well-known streaky scorer, managed just one assist in Columbus' first four games.
"We knew they were a patient team, and they take advantage of their opportunities," Saad said. "We try to play a tight checking game for a full 60. For the most part, we did a good job."
Kopitar tied it with his second goal of his first season as the Kings' captain, cycling the puck behind the net and executing a slick give-and-go with new defenseman Tom Gilbert.
Atkinson put the Jackets ahead again 71 seconds later, connecting for Columbus' fifth power-play goal in five games on tic-tac-toe passing from Sam Gagner and Alexander Wennberg.
Doughty finally evened it with a sharp-angled shot that trickled through Bobrovsky for his second goal of the season. Bobrovsky, who earned his franchise-record 100th victory with a shutout of Dallas last Saturday, probably should have stopped it.
"No matter what situation we're in as a team, we're always going to be a confident group," said Kings forwardNick Shore, who set up Doughty's goal. "Whether we're up or down, we're going to stick to the plan. Battling back was big for us tonight."
NOTES: Jack Campbell was the Kings' backup goalie again with their top two netminders sidelined by groin injuries. Zatkoff is expected to be out for at least a week, while Quick probably won't be back until January. ... Kings F Teddy Purcell was a healthy scratch for the third straight game by coach Darryl Sutter. Purcell was the closest thing to an impact free-agent acquisition this season by the capped-out franchise. ... Kopitar's goal was his 245th, moving him within one of tying Wayne Gretzky for sixth place in Kings history.
UP NEXT
Blue Jackets: The road trip continues Thursday in San Jose and Friday in Anaheim.
Kings: They'll host Nashville on Thursday.

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