Three games into the 2013 season, and the defending Stanley Cup champion L.A. Kings are still searching for their first win.
They were less than five seconds away from the feat Thursday night in Edmonton.
The Kings held a 1-0 lead over the Edmonton Oilers thanks to a second period goal from Jeff Carter, but Nail Yakupov scored with 4.7 seconds remaining in regulation time, slapping the puck out of mid-air and past goalie Jonathan Quick.
For Yakupov, the first overall pick in last June’s NHL Entry Draft, it was his second goal of his rookie season. He celebrated by frantically throwing his hands in the air, skating wildly to the Kings blue line then dropping to his knees.
His slide took him inside his own blue line, almost to his own net, reminiscent of Theo Fleury’s renowned celebration from 1991.
It didn’t sit well with the Kings.
The Kings still salvaged the single point, but came away with a 2-1 overtime loss. Oilers forward Sam Gagner scored his first goal of the season on the power play with 1:59 remaining in the extra period to give Edmonton the win.
Even Quick’s 37 saves weren’t enough.
The Kings were without Dustin Penner, who was made a healthy scratch, and defenseman Willie Mitchell.
The 35-year-old Mitchell still has yet to play a game this year for L.A., despite being cleared to play following knee surgery during the lockout.