PITTSBURGH (AP) Marion Gaborik saw the momentum swing back and forth from the start. The Los Angeles Kings’ winger put a stop to it when he got a chance in the shootout.
Gaborik scored in the fourth round of the tiebreaker to lift Kings to their sixth straight win, 3-2 over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.
Pittsburgh’s David Perron and the Kings’ Anze Kopitar both scored in the first round of the shootout. Gaborik, the eighth skater, then lifted the puck past Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and under the crossbar to decide it.
“We’ve been fortunate this year that we’ve been winning in overtime and shootouts (more) compared to last year, which is huge,” said Gaborik, whose Kings are 7-1 in games decided in overtime or a shootout. “I think it was a pretty game to watch for the fans.
“First period, we were strong. We got up 1-0, then second period, they took over. We were sloppy. Third period, again we got up 2-1 there and had some good looks. They tied it up late but we were able to find a way to win.”
Jake Muzzin and Tanner Pearson had Los Angeles’ goals in regulation, and Jonathan Quick stopped 40 shots through overtime. The Pacific Division-leading Kings have a point in eight straight games (7-0-1).
“They are from what I’ve seen the best in the West,” said Penguins coach Mike Johnston, whose team lost in Los Angeles 5-3 six nights earlier. “They are right there with Dallas as the best in the West. They’re a hard team to play against. I thought our guys hung in there. They responded well.”
Malkin had the tying goal with 1:10 left in regulation.
“It was fun to play,” Fleury said. “There was action on both sides.”
Los Angeles scored the only goal of the first period as Pearson got around Pittsburgh defenseman Ian Cole at the left point, carried the puck to the bottom of that circle and let loose with a shot that glanced off Fleury’s arm and into the net at 7:34.
Fleury kept it at 1-0 later in the first period when he went into a full split to make a right pad save on Kings center Anze Kopitar on a 2-on-1 as a Pittsburgh power play was expiring.
Quick had his turn on a sequence early in the second period. Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin carried the puck behind the Kings net and attempted a wraparound. Center Nick Bonino then got off a shot from the slot before Dumoulin got another crack. Quick stopped all three shots.
Pittsburgh had a 5-on-3 advantage for 22 seconds late in the second after Los Angeles’ Jeff Carter slashed Malkin in the back of the legs during a Penguins power play.
“I just skated in the middle of the ice, and he slapped me behind my knee,” Malkin said. “I got a little bit mad. It’s a little bit dirty, I think. But it’s a tough game, a tough battle.”
Pittsburgh did not score during an ensuing two-man advantage, but Fehr tied it for the Penguins a short time later during 4-on-4 play. After center Matt Cullen dug the puck out of the corner and away from Kings defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, Fehr converted a feed from Cullen, with his shot from near the bottom of the right circle glancing in off of Quick with 1:15 remaining in the period.
Los Angeles began the third period with 31 seconds remaining on a power play. Three seconds after it expired, Muzzin scored on a one-timer from the top of the right circle.
Malkin forced overtime when he scored with Fleury pulled for an extra attacker. From the top of the crease, he got a couple of whacks at the puck before it slid under Quick.
In the shootout, Quick gave up a goal to Perron before stopping Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, Malkin and Nick Bonino. Fleury, after Kopitar scored, stopped Dustin Brown and Pearson before Gaborik won it.
“Big guys show up at big times in the game. That was pretty clear tonight,” Muzzin said. “(Quick) made some unbelievable saves. Then (Kopitar) and (Gaborik) with the big goals. Big players step up in big times, and we had that tonight.”
NOTES: Pittsburgh played without D Kris Letang, who will be out “for the next little bit,” according to Johnston, because of an undisclosed upper-body injury. Letang had missed two games – including one Saturday at LA – because of a different injury before getting hurt Wednesday at Colorado. … Pittsburgh is off until Monday when Washington visits. … Kings C Jordan Nolan appeared to shove linesman Shandor Alphonso at 4:38 of the third period. … Los Angeles winger Michael Mersch made his NHL debut. … Los Angeles’ road trip continues Saturday at Buffalo.