Grundstrom lifts Kings to 3-2 win over Devils
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Carl Grundstrom scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period and Cal Petersen made 23 saves to lift the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 win over New Jersey Devils on Sunday night.
Alex Iafallo and Viktor Arvidsson also scored for the Kings, who snapped a three-game losing streak to start a six-game trip.
Jesper Bratt scored twice for the Devils and Damon Severson had two assists. Jon Gillies, coming off his first win since 2018 the previous night, had 34 saves.
Gillies, a 28-year-old journeyman acquired from St. Louis last month, has played for five teams this season, including two in the AHL and one in the ECHL.
Gundstrom’s sixth goal of the season came at 11:05 of the third with an assist to veteran forward Dustin Brown, who is in his 18th season with the Kings.
“It was a tough game. The key was to find a way to win,″ Grundstrom said. ”That’s been a struggle the last couple of games. It’s huge to start with a win on a long road trip like this.”
Bratt opened the scoring 2:37 into the game, beating Petersen on a breakaway.
Iafallo tied it at 5:47 when he rifled the puck past Gillies for his 12th goal.
Bratt then scored on the power play, his team-leading 13th goal of the season, with 2:26 remaining in the period to put New Jersey ahead 2-1.
The 23-year-old Bratt, a sixth-round pick by the Devils in 2016, leads the team with a career-best 36 points. It was the fourth straight game the Devils notched a power-play goal.
“They played a smart game, they’re a good team, they play tough,″ Bratt said. ”I felt like we had a good push and we had some good chances but wasn’t really at the percentage we needed to.”
Arvidsson tied it again with 4:01 left in the second for his 10th of the season, before Grundstrom scored the winner in the final period in which the Kings outshot the Devils 17-10.
Bratt spoke highly of Gillies, who was playing his second game in two nights. Gillies is the sixth goaltender to start a game this season for the Devils.
“It’s tough to come in and play back to back and he’s been doing a great job for us,″ Bratt said. ”He had a good game and he had some good saves yesterday, too.”
The Kings will visit the Rangers on Monday and the Islanders on Thursday before continuing their long trip in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Detroit before the All-Star break.
Kings coach Todd McLellan said it was key for his squad to begin with a victory, especially coming off his team’s losing streak as the playoff races tightens.
“It doesn’t make the job any easier but at least you have one in the bank and more importantly, we got to look back at the three losses we came in with, particularly how we lost them and the mistakes we’re making,″ he said. ”We corrected a lot of those tonight. So that was a good first step.”
NOTES: Kings D Drew Doughty played his 998th career game. ... The Kings won the previous meeting this season, 3-2 in overtime in Los Angeles on Nov. 5. ... The Devils last hosted the Kings on Feb. 8, 2020, a 3-0 New Jersey win. ... The Devils scratched D Mason Geertsen and F Jesper Boqvist and F Marian Studenic. ... The Kings scratched F Rasmus Kupari and D Austin Strand. ... The Devils are 4-10-2 against the Western Conference and are 1-4-2 in second games of back to backs.
Devils: Host Dallas on Tuesday night.
Kings: At the New York Rangers on Monday night.
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