THE ROYAL REBOUND
In 1982 it was the “Miracle on Manchester” where the Kings rallied from a 5-0, third-period deficit to defeat the highly-favored Edmonton Oilers, 6-5 in overtime on Daryl Evans' game-winning goal.
In 2001, it was the “Frenzy on Figueroa,” where the Kings rallied from a 3-0 deficit with eight minutes remaining in Game Four of the series vs. Detroit, scoring three unanswered goals and winning on Eric Belanger’s game-winning goal in overtime.
On Saturday night, perhaps, the Kings added a new chapter to their history, the “Royal Rebound.”
Granted, those other moments in Kings history were in the playoffs and we are just 16 games into an 82-game regular season, but the Kings comeback from a 4-0 deficit with less than nine minutes remaining against arch-rival Dallas - including scoring five goals in a team-record 5:07 - to take a 5-4 lead in the Kings 6-5 OT win was pretty ‘special.’
“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 for our season,” head coach Marc Crawford said. “It was a great win for our players. They showed no quit. They showed no lack of intensity to get things done and they got a payoff at the end.”
The Kings historic comeback all started at 12:46 of the third period when Dustin Brown scored on a rebound of a Lubomir Visnovsky slap shot while the Kings were on the power play to spoil Marty Turco’s shutout bid and cut the deficit to 4-1.
The Kings, who had moved from a 1-2-2 to a 2-1-2 on the fore check for the third period, created a turnover deep in Dallas territory. John Zeiler skated away from a scrum on the boards with the puck and handed it off to Michal Handzus, who skated around and dropped the puck back to Scott Thornton. The Kings alternate captain wristed a shot past Turco to cut the Kings deficit to two at 4-2 at 14:01.
One hundred and five seconds later, Alexander Frolov redirected a Derek Armstrong slap shot past Turco to bring the Kings within 4-3 and set the STAPLES Center crowd into a frenzy.
But not so fast.
The goal was reviewed as the puck appeared to glance off of Frolov’s skate. The goal, however, stood, as replays showed there was no attempt by Frolov to make a kicking motion at the puck, and all of a sudden, it was a one-goal game.
Seconds later, 24 to be exact, the Kings were on a rush and Visnovsky fed Brown, who drew Turco to his left before dishing to an open Anze Kopitar for an easy goal with most of the net left open to tie the score at four as STAPLES Center again erupted.
“Before the third period we said we were going to go all out and show our character and not give up,” Kopitar said. “And it turned out amazing. We got the momentum going after the second goal and just took it all the way.”
The Kings took the lead about two minutes later, but of course, that goal was under review too. With the Kings on the power play, Brad Stuart’s slapper was redirected by Ladislav Nagy in front of the Stars net and into the goal.
Only Nagy made contact with the puck in the air and the Stars claimed that his stick was above the crossbar, which would disallow the goal. Upon review, however, the goal withstood and what was once a Kings 4-0 deficit, was now a 5-4 lead, with Los Angeles scoring a record five goals in 5:07.
Even more amazing, the five goals were scored on just six shots.
The previous record for fastest five goals was set on Nov. 2, 1985, with the Kings lighting the lamp five times in 5:37. Dave Taylor (13:04), Jay Wells (16:08), Bernie Nicholls (17:07), Anders Hakansson (17:34) and Jay Wells (18:41) all scored in the third period at Hartford in an 8-1 victory.
Turco said of the third period: “I think the whole third period was brutal. People keep talking about a lesson, I just think it’s embarrassing. Other than embarrassing, it’s a total lack of respect for each other.”
The energy inside STAPLES Center dimmed a bit when Mike Modano scored for the Stars to tie the game at five again, after Handszus was whistled for boarding, only the Kings third penalty of the game. Handzus, of course, is one of the Kings better penalty killers and Modano and the Stars took advantage, tying the game with 1:05 left.
The game would advance to OT and Kopitar became the hero, scoring his first career OT goal beating Turco between the pads and the Kings prevailed, 6-5 snapping a 34-game winning streak for the Stars when holding a lead of more than one goal.
“It was just an amazing, amazing game,’’ Kopitar said. “It followed a script that’s never been done before. This could be the craziest game of my career when it’s all said and done.’’
Quite the rebound for a team that was trailing 4-0 with less than nine minutes remaining in a game that would have given them their third loss in four games and their ninth in 10 games vs. the Stars…only of course, the Kings rebounded.