It has been more than a month since the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings opened the NHL season in England. Both teams have struggled to find any consistency since returning.
The Kings look to build on their biggest victory of the season on Tuesday night when they face their geographic rivals in the opener of a home-and-home series at Honda Center.
Trailing Dallas by four goals midway through the third period on Saturday, the Kings (8-8-0) appeared headed for their second straight loss. Anze Kopitar, though, capped a remarkable comeback with his second goal of the game 2:34 into overtime, lifting Los Angeles to a wild 6-5 victory.
Dustin Brown, Scott Thornton, Alexander Frolov and Kopitar all scored in a 3:13 span to forge a 4-all tie, and Ladislav Nagy's goal with 2:07 left in regulation gave the Kings a 5-4 lead.
The five goals came in a span of 5:07, breaking the franchise record, and came on only six shots.
"That is the type of finish you look back on and say, 'That was really special,' And you never know. This may be the turning point of our season," Kings coach Marc Crawford said. "Our players showed no quit, and they got a payoff at the end."
Mike Modano answered 62 seconds after Nagy with a power-play goal to force overtime, setting the stage for Kopitar's winner.
"Before the third period, we said we were going to go all out and show our character and not give up. And it turned out amazing," Kopitar said. "We got the momentum going after the second goal and just took it all the way."
The comeback overshadowed a poor performance by Jason LaBarbera, who allowed four goals on 21 shots over the first two periods before he was replaced by Jean-Sebastien Aubin.
LaBarbera is 0-2-0 with a 3.82 goals-against average in his past three games after he was 4-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA in his previous four starts. Despite his recent struggles, Crawford may stick with LaBarbera for this game because Aubin is 1-4-0 with a 3.91 GAA in five lifetime starts against Anaheim.
While not as exciting as the Kings' improbable rally, the Ducks (7-8-3) had a comeback of their own in their last game.
Andy McDonald scored the tying goal at 5:56 of the third period, then connected again in the shootout in Anaheim's 3-2 victory Friday over visiting San Jose.
Ryan Getzlaf also scored in regulation for the Ducks, who won for the first time in 10 games when trailing after two periods.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere will likely face the Kings for the first time this season after missing the first two meetings while recovering from hernia surgery.
After splitting their season-opening two-game series in England, the Kings lost five of their next six contests. They have, however, rebounded to win six of eight, including consecutive games on the road.
Each team had a 4-1 victory in England, with Anaheim's win ending a four-game losing streak to the Kings. Seven of eight meetings between the division rivals last season were decided by one goal, including three shootouts.
"They're our No.1 rival in the division," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle told the team's official Web site."It's a cross-town rivalry. We're 45 minutes away. Every game last year was very close. I would dare to say that it's going to be highly contested again this year in all the games against Los Angeles."
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