Another night meant another one-goal game for the Kings as they lost to the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in overtime at Crypto.com Arena Sunday, ascending the Kings to the top of the leaderboard in terms of one-goal games played.
Of their 11 thin-margin matches, they’ve won seven, tying them with five other franchises for the most one-goal victories.
Winger Arthur Kaliyev tallied twice on the power play and center Phillip Danault earned assists on both goals. Jonathan Quick was the busier netminder, making 36 of 39 saves.
Wingers Brady Tkachuk, Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux each scored goals for Ottawa, with Tkachuk and Giroux also contributing an assist apiece. Forward Tim Stutzle added two helpers. Cam Talbot stopped 25 shots.
A mere 20 seconds into overtime, Ottawa finished the job off a long, lofted backhand saucer pass from Stutzle to Giroux, who had snuck behind defenseman Drew Doughty. He finished a breakaway with a nifty series of moves that included a fake shot and a forehand-backhand-forehand move.
The third period was played to a scoreless draw with defenseman Sean Durzi’s deke, Jaret Anderson-Dolan’s breakaway and winger Viktor Arvidsson’s individual effort to create a scoring chance generating the most excitement for the Kings.
In the second period, the Sens nearly converted on their second power play, which came off the Kings’ second offensive-zone penalty. But Quick robbed Tkachuk from close range and got help from his post on a sterling opportunity for winger Drake Batherson.
Instead it was Kings cashing in for a second time with the man advantage with 2:25 remaining in the stanza. Kaliyev delivered again with a far-side snipe from the right circle. It was Kaliyev’s sixth power-play tally, equaling his total from all of last season, and his eighth goal overall.
The first half of the second period saw the Kings absorb play five-on-five. Defenseman Sean Walker was rocked by winger Austin Watson and then a partial breakaway for winger Tyler Motte forced Quick and defenseman Drew Doughty to go into scramble mode against three successive shot attempts.
Positive momentum from the Kings’ first man-advantage marker proved ephemeral as the equalizer stood for less than two minutes. Winger Kevin Fiala’s undisciplined roughing penalty sent the Sens to their first power play. Tkachuk played the role of setup man as he drew defenseman Matt Roy toward him then slipped a pass between Roy’s legs to DeBrincat, who narrowly beat Quick with a shot just inside the post for his sixth goal as a Senator.
It was the second unit, which Coach Todd McLellan praised earlier in the day as essentially interchangeable with the top unit for the first time during his four-season tenure, that fed Kaliyev for not one, not two but three one-timers in the span of 70 seconds, the third of which connected 10:23 into the frame.
Ottawa has been one of the top teams in the NHL in terms of high-danger scoring chances, completed passes into the slot and expected goals-for, despite their pedestrian record. They showed more of that offensive potential in the first period, out-shooting the Kings 19-8, generating seven high-danger opportunities to the Kings’ two, and earning a 1-0 lead.
Just under five minutes into the game, the visitors opened the scoring. Defenseman Thomas Chabot’s shot ricocheted off defenseman Alex Edler and then the end boards before coming to Tkachuk, who knifed it past Quick for his ninth goal of the campaign. Tkachuk has been no stranger to the doorstep, having tipped more pucks than any player in the NHL this year.
Ottawa nearly struck again when a puck played by Quick was intercepted by Motte, but Quick made a save several feet in front of the blue paint to quiet the storm.
Notes: Winger Gabe Vilardi missed Sunday’s game with an upper-body injury and was replaced by Lias Andersson, who was sent to the minors Saturday but recalled Sunday to make his season debut … Defenseman Frederic Allard was also recalled in favor of Jacob Moverare, who was involved in a fight during a minor-league game Saturday … Defenseman Brandt Clarke finished his conditioning assignment and was also recalled, though neither he nor Allard dressed Sunday … Sunday’s coverage was reported remotely.