Quick, Kopitar lift Kings to shootout victory over Leafs

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[March 03, 2017]  LOS ANGELES -- Jonathan Quick continues to inch his way back from a 60-game absence caused by a groin injury.

The Los Angeles Kings goaltender made his first appearance in 4 1/2 months last weekend, experienced an overtime game earlier this week and Thursday night took part in his first shootout of the season.

The experience went well for the 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner, as Quick stopped all three attempts in the shootout to lift the Kings to a 3-2 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Staples Center.

Anze Kopitar scored the only goal of the shootout in the third round after the Kings erased a 2-0 deficit with two goals in the first two minutes of the third period. The loss was the fourth in a row for Toronto, dropping the Leafs' record to 21-1-9 this season when leading after two periods.

The Kings, who took over the second Western Conference wild-card position, scored a power-play goal 27 seconds into third period. Kopitar took a shot from the right point that was off target, but the puck hit Toronto defenseman Nikita Zaitsev in the visor and ricocheted into the net, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

"You'd like to kill off that penalty to start the third," said Toronto center Brian Boyle, who produced his first point with the Maple Leafs since coming over in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. "Kind of a fluky bounce."

Los Angeles tied the score at 1:57 of the third period after Tyler Toffoli recovered a puck that Toronto had sent around the back of its net. Toffoli passed into the middle to defenseman Alec Martinez, and he slid it over to Tanner Pearson, who was all alone in front of Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen.

Pearson beat Andersen with a quick stick move for his 22nd goal of the season.

"Our team had some good composure," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "It wasn't like we were really behind the 8-ball."

Tyler Bozak and Zaitsev scored for Toronto, who fell into a tie with the New York Islanders for the second Eastern Conference wild card.

In the second period, Boyle won a faceoff against Jeff Carter in the Los Angeles zone and passed the puck back to Zaitsev, who was just inside the blue line. Zaitsev flicked a shot toward the net, and Quick appeared to be screened by Los Angeles defenseman Jake Muzzin, who skipped out of the way just before the puck sailed past Quick and into the net for a 2-0 lead at 7:20.

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 Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen (31) blocks a shot against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto took a 1-0 lead at 2:04 of the first period after the Kings failed to clear the puck from their zone and James van Riemsdyk took possession. He drove toward the back of the Los Angeles net with Muzzin on his hip. Van Riemsdyk sent a no-look pass behind him to Mitchell Marner, who sent the puck through the crease. Bozak was stationed near the opposite post, and the puck banked off his skate and into the net for his 15th goal of the season.

Jarome Iginla, acquired by the Kings from the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, made his debut on a line centered by Kopitar. The 39-year-old right winger did not have a shot in 15:46 of ice time, but he contributed three hits.

"I thought he was fine," Sutter said. "It's not easy the last few days for him. ... He's going to fit in and play a role for us."

NOTES: Kings C Nick Shore sustained an upper-body injury in the second period and did not return. ... Maple Leafs C Eric Fehr, acquired Wednesday in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins, participated in the morning skate but was a healthy scratch along with RW Ben Smith, LW Josh Leivo and D Martin Marincin. ... Bob Miller, a Kings broadcaster the past 44 years, announced his retirement during a news conference earlier in the day. Miller suffered a stroke while at Staples Center during the All-Star weekend in late January. .... The Kings handed the Maple Leafs their worst loss of the season, 7-0 on Nov. 8 in Toronto.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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