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Palffy Wins It for Kings

Hockey: His second goal of game 28 seconds into overtime is difference in 4-3 victory over Oilers. L.A. is fifth in West.

April 07, 2002|JERRY CROWE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

When Anson Carter of the Edmonton Oilers deprived the Kings of a victory in regulation Saturday night, scoring the tying goal with 10 seconds to play in the third period, the Kings did not sulk.

They did not hang their heads.

They did not quit.

Instead, they told themselves to make the most of the overtime.

And when Ziggy Palffy scored his second goal of the game 28 seconds into the extra period, redirecting a pass from Jason Allison, the Kings emerged with a 4-3 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 18,311 at Staples Center.

"We just said, 'It's over with, let's go out and win the game anyway,'" Allison said. "That's the type of character we have on this team."

The victory, extending their home unbeaten streak to nine games, moved the Kings past the idle Phoenix Coyotes and St. Louis Blues into fifth place in the packed Western Conference playoff race. They are 7-0-2 at Staples Center since March 2, when they lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-0.

The loss, meanwhile, sent the Oilers home winless from their Southland swing after they had lost Friday night to the Mighty Ducks, 2-0, though they earned a point and remained eighth in the playoff race, two points ahead of the idle Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars.

Carter's goal pulled the Oilers even after Philippe Boucher had given the Kings a 3-2 lead with 2:24 to play, but they were unable to avoid becoming the 10th team in 12 games to lose to the Kings after playing the night before in Anaheim.

Palffy scored on a two-on-one breakaway after Allison chipped the puck out of a scrum along the boards and carried it up the left wing.

"I definitely wanted to give him a good chance," Allison said. "I didn't want to give it to him too early. I wanted him to have something to shoot at, so I moved over a little bit to give him some room."

Said Palffy, whose 30th goal lifted the Kings over the 90-point plateau for the third consecutive season: "[The defender] was pretty much holding but I was able to fight him off and the goal was pretty much easy."

Coach Andy Murray said everything happened so quickly that there was no time for the Kings to experience a letdown, Carter's goal notwithstanding.

"I thought we played it really well," he said. "It was a great play to win it. It's tough to have that responsibility to score in this league every night. Jason and Ziggy have that, and they came through. It was pretty exciting."

With 91 points, the Kings are tied in the West with the Chicago Blackhawks, with the Blackhawks holding the tiebreaker--and the No. 4 spot--because they have one more victory.

As Saturday dawned, the Kings were seventh in the West, with the three teams sitting directly behind them in the playoff race--the Oilers, Stars and Canucks--lined up as their next three opponents.

With nine days left in the regular season, they held their own fate, as surely they were aware and their coach was only too happy to remind them.

"We want to retain a firm grip on the reins where we're in charge of what happens," Murray said before the game.

Ryan Smyth gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead with 24 seconds to play in the first period, scoring with the Oilers enjoying a two-man advantage.

A power-play goal by Palffy and an even-strength goal by Brad Chartrand in the second period put the Kings ahead, 2-1, but Carter scored a power-play goal with 14:47 to play in the third, setting up the wild final minutes.

Boucher's goal, scored on a blast from the right point, looked like the winner until a late turnover by the defenseman led to Carter's second goal, scored after Ryan Smyth threaded a pass between the legs of defenseman Mattias Norstrom.

"It's still not out of my head," Boucher said. "I had time, but the guy made a good play to keep it in. Let's say that I'm really glad that we won it in overtime."

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