Peterka has two goals as Sabres rally to beat Kings
LOS ANGELES (AP) — JJ Peterka had two goals and an assist, Alex Tuch scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and the Buffalo Sabres rallied to beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-3 on Wednesday night.
Jack Quinn had a goal and two assists and Dylan Cozens had a goal and an assist for the Sabres, who trailed 3-1 midway through the first period. Devon Levi stopped 37 shots.
It was Buffalo's first win in 14 games this season when trailing by at least two goals after the first period.
“For our psyche, that’s big. We had a very disappointing game Tuesday (a 4-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks ) and then fell behind tonight," Sabres coach Don Granato said. "We’ve played tight and nervous at times through the season, and this was big in that manner because we didn’t do that. It didn’t bother us. That’s a big one for us.”
Los Angeles' Anze Kopitar had a goal and reached the 40-point mark for the 18th straight season. The Kings captain was honored before the game for becoming the franchise leader in games played and assists as well as reaching 400 career goals earlier this season.
Adrian Kempe had a goal and an assist while Pierre-Luc Dubois also scored for the Kings. Cam Talbot had 33 saves.
Los Angeles has dropped 12 of its last 14 games, and gone 2-7-5 since Dec. 28. They hold the first wild card spot in the Western Conference, but are only five points from dropping out of a playoff spot.
Wednesday's loss though drew the wrath of coach Todd McLellan
“That’s unacceptable. We’re up 3-1. We’re maybe not playing our best, but the stupidity that went into that loss is unexplainable," he said. "I haven’t until now been able to come in and say' boy, we played really dumb. And that’s what we did.”
McLellan, who is in his fifth year with the Kings and has led them to the playoffs the past two years, also said it was fair to ask whether he thinks his job is in jeopardy with the All-Star break one week away.
“When you looked at the team that played the first, what would we call it, 25, 30 games if you will, it doesn’t look like the team that’s playing right now. And I’m responsible for it," he said.
Tuch gave the Sabres their first lead of the game at 5:49 of the third with a snap shot from the edge of the right faceoff circle for his 13th of the season. Cozens put it out of reach at 8:54 with his ninth on a wrist shot.
Kopitar registered his 15th goal and 40th point of season at 2:55 of the first period, when he tipped in Kempe’s shot on a rush to the net. Kopitar is the 25th skater in league history to record 18 or more 40-point seasons. Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Washington's Alex Ovechkin, who have also done it 18 times, are the only other active skaters on the list.
Peterka evened it at 5:01 when he put in a rebound of Cozens’ shot after Talbot made a pad save.
Kempe gave the Kings a 2-1 lead 23 seconds later on a snap shot from the left faceoff circle, his 16th of the season, and Dubois made it a two-goal advantage at 9:44 on a wrist shot from just outside of the slot while on the power play.
Peterka got the first multi-goal game of his career when he scored on a breakaway 8:22 into the second for his 16th. Quinn evened it at 10:30 when he went top shelf from the slot and beat Talbot on his blocker side for his fifth.
“It could feel like a stretch, at points, to come back into the game, but that’s when you gotta love the adversity. That’s when you gotta just bear down and love this," Levi said. "The odds aren’t in our favor. Let’s go and do something special. So that was kind of the mentality. I believed in us for sure. We were playing well. I knew we were going to score. I was just determined to try to lock it down for them.”
Sabres: Conclude their three-game California trip at San Jose on Saturday.
Kings: Begin a three-game road trip at Colorado on Friday.
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl