Kings blow three-goal lead, but still beat Caps in OT

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Jeff Carter scored with 2:10 left in overtime and the Los Angeles Kings blew a three-goal lead in the third period before rallying for a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.

Vincent Lecavalier, Jake Muzzin and Milan Lucic scored in a dominant first period for the Kings, who reclaimed the Pacific Division lead from Anaheim with their seventh victory in nine games.

T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom and Dmitry Orlov scored in the third for the NHL-leading Capitals, who awoke from two somnolent periods for a furious finish. Braden Holtby stopped 26 shots in Washington’s second loss in six games.

After both teams had golden overtime chances, Carter scored on an exceptional cross-ice pass from Lucic to end a thriller between two Stanley Cup contenders.

Jonathan Quick made 29 saves as the NHL’s best defensive team held on late to beat the Capitals, who lead the league in scoring.

The Kings’ victory and the Ducks’ 3-0 loss at Colorado pushed Los Angeles one point ahead of Anaheim atop the Pacific. The Kings led the division for two months before the Ducks overtook them with a 3-2 win in Los Angeles last weekend.

Kings fans gave a warm homecoming to Capitals forwards Justin Williams and Mike Richards, who played key roles on Los Angeles’ Stanley Cup championship teams in 2012 and 2014.

Staples Center gave separate video tributes to Williams and Richards on the scoreboard during the first period. Richards warmly acknowledged the cheers after his stormy departure from the Kings, including a demotion to the AHL before the club reached a settlement on his hefty contract. The dispute followed Richards’ arrested at a Canadian border crossing in June, when he was charged with possession of a controlled substance. The charge was stayed in February.

Williams, the beloved forward who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL’s postseason MVP in 2014, left as a free agent last summer. The veteran known as “Mr. Game 7” acknowledged the ovation and video tribute with a curt wave of his hand.

After Lecavalier got credit for a goal that grazed his skate, Muzzin and Lucic scored 1:21 apart against the Capitals, who scarcely showed life for the first two periods.

But Oshie scored his 20th goal during a scramble early in the third, and Backstrom scored with 8:58 to play after a dominant shift by his line with Alex Ovechkin.

Orlov tied it by stickhandling through the Kings’ entire defense and beating Quick with an artful backhand for the defenseman’s eighth goal. Williams got the first assist for the Caps, who outshot Los Angeles 18-6 in the third.

NOTES: Kobe and Vanessa Bryant attended the game. … Pearson got credit for assists on the first two goals for his second multipoint game in 2016. … Holtby has lost three of his last five starts for the first time in his spectacular 41-victory season.