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King-Sized Slump Comes to an End, 5-3 : L.A. Finally Wins at Home After Record Nine Straight Losses

March 16, 1986|CHRIS BAKER | Times Staff Writer

The Kings finally got the monkey off their backs, winning their first home game since Jan. 29th with a 5-3 come-from-behind victory over the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night before 11,349 fans at the Forum.

The win broke a club-record streak of nine consecutive losses at home. And, it also snapped an overall winless streak of eight games (0-7-1). It was the Kings' first victory since Feb. 22, when they beat the New Jersey Devils, 5-2.

"It's about time we won a game at home," said King captain Dave Taylor, who had two assists. "We really put in a good effort tonight and we deserved to win."

The Kings locker room, which is normally quiet, was rocking with loud music after the game, and owner Jerry Buss made a visit to congratulate the players. The only thing missing was champagne.

But King Coach Pat Quinn quickly put the win in perspective.

"I'm not going to jump and down," Quinn said. "We won one hockey game, but we've still got a ways to go."

Trailing, 3-1, in the second period, the Kings scored four consecutive goals against Buffalo goalie Tom Barrasso.

Wing Sean McKenna, a former Sabre, closed the score to 3-2 when he scored his scored ninth goal of the season with 4:58 left in the second period after center Glen Currie had won a faceoff from Doug Smith.

McKenna came to the Kings along with defenseman Larry Playfair in the deal which sent Smith and defenseman Brian Engblom to the Sabres on Jan. 30th.

The Kings, who have been struggling on offense, scored three third-period goals, including two in a span of 47 seconds.

Left wing Phil Sykes tied the score at 3-3 with 5:49 left in the game when he scored off a pass from right wing Bryan Erickson.

Defenseman Grant Ledyard, who has been struggling, scored the game-winning goal on a 45-foot slap shot with 5:02 left in the third period. It was Ledyard's first goal since Feb. 1. He also had one assist.

"It feels great to win at home," Ledyard said. "I hope this shows what's going to happen on the road.

"I had been struggling in the last month. I haven't been playing hockey the way I should. I've got nobody to blame but myself."

Said Quinn: "Ledyard seemed very confident tonight. In the first part of the game I didn't notice him, and that's a good thing for a defenseman. Then I noticed he was handling the puck more."

Center Marcel Dionne, who had not scored in his last two games, got an empty net goal with 30 seconds left after the Sabres pulled Barrasso for an extra skater.

Dionne also assisted on Ledyard's goal and is two points away from passing Phil Esposito to become the second-leading scorer in National Hockey League history with 1,591 points.

The Kings moved back into fourth place in the Smythe Division, one point ahead of the Vancouver Canucks, who played the Boston Bruins to a 1-1 tie Saturday afternoon.

The Kings (21-41-7) have 49 points while the Canucks (19-38-11) have 48 points. The Kings have 11 games left in the regular season while the Canucks have 12.

Left wing Dave (Tiger) Williams scored the Kings' other goal on a power play in the first period off a pass from center Bernie Nicholls. However, Williams was forced to leave the game with a strained neck in the second period.

Williams goal broke an 0-12 streak on the power play, and it was also the Kings' first goal in 103 minutes 4 seconds. They had been shut out by Detroit in their last game.

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