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.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.