One team's collapse was another's resuscitation.
Two days after what was arguably the most exciting 16th NHL game of the season, the mood at the Kings' practice facility in El Segundo was palpably giddy. The Kings brought a playoff atmosphere to Staples Center several months early with an implausible victory over Dallas on Saturday night, winning, 6-5, in overtime.
Facing a 4-0 deficit, the Kings all but clicked their heels with 7:24 remaining and scored the fastest five goals in franchise history, in 5:07.
"I know we've come back from four goals before but not in the last 7 1/2 minutes," Kings Coach Marc Crawford said. "It's funny because when we went ahead 5-4, you were looking and saying, 'Geez, there's too much time.'
"It was a funny game. It was fun to be involved. The atmosphere in the building was great. It was great for our players."
Said goalie J.S. Aubin, who took over for Jason LaBarbera at the start of the third period: "Felt like a spectator. It was awesome -- felt like a playoff game. Twelve minutes of unbelievable plays."
The first goal was scored by Dustin Brown on a power play but the second, by well-liked veteran Scott Thornton, particularly energized the bench. Dallas took a timeout after Thornton's goal, but it actually worked to the Kings' advantage, allowing momentum to snowball in the building.
The long climb back could have been more daunting, Brown said, if not for LaBarbera's play in goal early on.
"It could have been 6-0 -- he made some big saves at key times," Brown said.
Give enforcer Raitis Ivanans some credit for retaining an excellent sense of humor despite the pain of a broken left cheekbone, a pinched nerve and, today, facing facial surgery.
He visited a plastic surgeon Monday, had a CAT scan and got the news that a plate would be put in his cheek. A new face, after the old one was taken out by a Rob Blake slapshot at San Jose on Nov. 2?
"It's going to be prettier," Ivanans said, smiling.
He is expected to be off the ice for five days after his surgery.
Crawford, whose team has won seven of its last 10 games, had not decided on a starting goalie for tonight against the Ducks. Defenseman Tom Preissing was a healthy scratch against Dallas, but Crawford said the move was about getting Kevin Dallman in the lineup rather than a negative about Preissing's play.