ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Jeff Carter’s return from ankle surgery has been a big boost for the playoff-hopeful Los Angeles Kings.
Carter scored his second goal of the game with 33.8 seconds left on the clock in overtime and Los Angeles recovered after giving up a two-goal lead to beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Monday night.
“The puck just finds that guy,” said defenseman Drew Doughty, who had three assists. “It’s unbelievable. It really is unbelievable. Two big goals again for us tonight. He’s scored in almost every game he’s been in, I feel like, since he got back. He’s a goal scorer. He does it every single night, so he did a great job for us there once again.”
Tanner Pearson and Dustin Brown also scored for the Kings, who pulled into a tie with Anaheim for third place in the Pacific Division with 86 points — and they hold the tiebreaker over the Ducks.
Jonathan Quick made 24 saves for Los Angeles, which appeared headed to a second straight loss until Brown tipped home a point shot from Doughty with 46.5 seconds left in regulation after Minnesota had taken a lead with 2:31 remaining.
“To come back, that’s a huge two points for a team that we’re quite honestly fighting with for position in the conference,” Kings coach John Stevens said. “It had its ebbs and flows for sure, but I thought the guys showed a lot of professionalism in terms of staying with it.”
Joel Eriksson Ek scored for the first time in 13 games to give the Wild a short-lived lead. Eric Staal added his 39th and Zach Parise had his second goal in three games for Minnesota.
Devan Dubnyk stopped 26 shots for the Wild, who are third in the Central Division, four points ahead of Colorado.
“They need points; so do we,” Staal said. “But when you have that lead with a minute left, you want to be able to execute and get that job done. Tonight, we didn’t and they got the extra one in overtime.”
Pearson scored his 15th with 1:13 left in the first and Carter added his first of the game on the power play in the second. Carter has eight goals and two assists in 12 games since returning on Feb. 24 from surgery to repair a tendon in his ankle.
“I’ve been in the right place at the right time for a lot of my goals,” Carter said.
Parise started Minnesota’s comeback with his ninth of the season and Staal tied the game with 56 seconds remaining in the second. Staal has 13 goals in the past 14 games.
“Every point you get right now is great,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “To get into the next category, the 90 points, is really big. Again, we had the lead with a minute to go and then we didn’t do the right things in the overtime.”
NOTES: Los Angeles F Trevor Lewis left the game with an upper body injury and did not return. … Kings D Derek Forbort left the game in the first after he was cut near his ear by Zach Parise’s skate but did return in the second. … Per the Elias Sports Bureau, Staal could join Gordie Howe as the only players in NHL history with at least nine seasons between 40-goal campaigns. Staal has his most since scoring 40 in 2008-09. … Los Angeles C Alex Iafallo was scratched for the first time since Jan. 4, a span of 32 games. Andy Andreoff was in the lineup after being scratched 11 games in a row. … Minnesota got three assists from its defensemen. Wild defenseman have now accounted for 36 goals and 142 assists this season. Their 178 points from the blue line is second only to Nashville’s 181 this season.
Kings: At Winnipeg on Tuesday night.
Wild: Are off until hosting Nashville on Saturday.
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