Kopitar hurt in Kings loss to Senators

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OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Zack Smith‘s old baseball skills helped the Ottawa Senators find some of their offensive spark again.

Smith batted in his own rebound with just under four minutes left to play to tie it before Mark Stone scored with 7 seconds to go as Ottawa rallied past the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 on Friday night.

“I have to give a shout out to my old baseball team, the Maple Creek Mohawks,” Smith said. “My teammates could attest I wasn’t a very good hitter but I think I redeemed myself with that one.”

Stone tracked down a loose puck in the crease and gave the Senators the lead less than four minutes after Smith tied the game.

“We stuck together for the full game, kept believing in our game plan and it paid off at the end,” said Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who had two assists. “We had a lot of chances and you get a little frustrated but you have to keep up with what you’re doing. If you’re getting chances it means you’re doing good things.”

The Senators had totaled just four goals in their previous four games.

Dwight King scored early in the second period for the Kings. Jeff Zatkoff had a shutout going through the first two periods, stopping all 18 shots the Senators sent his way. However, after recently came off the injury reserved list with a lower body injury, Zatkoff pulled himself after the second period.

Peter Budaj, who had a shutout streak of 140:57 snapped Thursday night in Montreal, came on to start the third and stopped the first 12 shots he faced. Smith was then able to bat his own rebound out of the air and in with 3:54 remaining to tie it.

“Zatkoff made some pretty crazy saves there on us. We were getting chances, which was helping us stick to it,” Smith said. “I think that’s important to know that we can stick around all game and if you have to wait for the last couple of minutes to score then so be it. I thought we were good all game.”

Budaj finished with 13 stops.

Craig Anderson was the busiest of the three goalies in the game as he stopped 32 shots.

“We played as good as we could. We were a little overstaffed in the third and we knew they were going to come hard,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said.

“They have a lot of forwards who drive the net and both their goals were scored when we had defensemen lying around the net, so we lost a couple of battles there.”

The Kings had the lone power play of the first period and outshot the Senators 14-8 but were unable to get anything past Anderson.

Los Angeles came closest to a goal when Nick Shore used a nifty toe-drag to get around Senators forward Ryan Dzingel and beat Anderson with a shot but it hit the post to keep the game scoreless.

Jeff Carter initially got credit for the Kings’ goal 56 seconds, but replays showed his backhander through traffic appeared to hit King’s left leg before going in.

Anze Kopitar was stopped point-blank by Anderson on the power play and then missed the net on a short-handed breakaway later in the second.

The Senators had a 22-second 5-on-3 advantage in the period but didn’t manage a shot.

— Kopitar was kept to just four shifts in the third period after taking a hit along the boards. He’s expected to travel with the team to Winnipeg for Sunday’s game, per L.A. Kings Insider.

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