LOS ANGELES—Jeff Carter scored his 10th goal of the season 1:06 into overtime, and the Kings beat the Blackhawks 2-1 on Saturday night for their season-best fifth consecutive victory.Alec Martinez scored and Peter Budaj stopped 18 shots for the Kings, who persevered through a back-and-forth game for their third straight win over the Blackhawks at Staples Center.These Kings don’t often light up scoreboards, and they aren’t the same defensive powerhouse without injured goalie Jonathan Quick. They’re still thriving in coach Darryl Sutter’s disciplined system – even against the Hawks, the Western Conference leaders.Just seven seconds after Los Angeles failed to score on a power play stretching into overtime, Carter fired an exceptional wrist shot past Scott Darling for his fifth goal in five games. Carter also had an early assist, giving him a team-leading 19 points in 22 games.The veteran power forward has been carrying the Kings’ offense with the absence of Marian Gaborik and the struggles of captain Anze Kopitar, who hasn’t scored a goal in 11 games since Oct. 25.Gaborik also made his season debut for the Kings, playing in his first regular-season game since Feb. 12. The $34 million Slovak wing broke his foot during the World Cup of Hockey.Patrick Kane scored and Darling stopped 27 shots in his first loss for the Blackhawks, who finished their seven-game circus road trip at 3-3-1.Captain Jonathan Toews missed his second straight game with an injury, butthe Hawks nearly swept its two-game stop in Southern California following a win over Anaheim on Friday.
”I think the last couple of games, we’ve played better than we have for most of the year, as far as being a team,” defenseman Duncan Keith said.
The Hawks didn’t get a shot on goal for the first 11:40, but Kane scored his eighth goal of the season with a redirection on the Blackhawks’ first shot. Kane scored in his second straight game in Southern California after last season’s NHL MVP failed to score a goal on the first five games of the circus trip.Los Angeles evened it early in the second period when Martinez fired a shot over Darling’s shoulder for his fifth goal and 14th point, extending his five-game scoring streak. The defenseman and 2014 Stanley Cup Final hero became the Kings’ second-leading scorer with that goal.An apparent goal by Toffoli was waved off on video review just 72 seconds into the first period. Officials ruled Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson was shoved into Darling for goaltender interference.
”It’s a long trip and a lot of good teams, LA included,” Darling said. ”I thought we really had quite a good effort … especially without the best player in the world, Jonathan Toews. The guys stepped up and really filled the gap there.”
NOTES—The Kings are 9-2-0 with six straight victories at home. … Gaborik missed the first 21 games this season, and he missed the final 28 games of last season with a knee injury. He returned for four playoff games last spring. … F Andrew Desjardins and D Michal Kempny returned to Hawks lineup after being scratches Friday at Anaheim. They replaced F Jordin Tootoo and D Michal Rozsival. … Kyle Clifford was scratched for the second time all season to make room for Gaborik. D Tom Gilbert also replaced D Matt Greene in Los Angeles’ lineup….The Blackhawks finally return home to face Florida on Tuesday.