ANAHEIM, Calif. – After waiting 20 years to meet in a playoff series, the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim provided an overtime thriller in the opening tussle for Southern California supremacy.
Marian Gaborik scored with seven seconds left in regulation to force overtime, and scored 12:07 into the extra period to lift the Kings to a 3-2 victory Saturday night in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinals.
Wresting home-ice advantage from the Ducks comes after the Kings staged a memorable comeback against San Jose, becoming the fourth league team to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first three games.
“It was awesome. Really, it was what you expect,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said of Game 1. “It was a physical game. I think the crowd really responded to that.”
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Gaborik redirected Anze Kopitar’s shot past Jonas Hiller for the winner.
“We did a good job on the forecheck,” Gaborik said. “The puck got to Kopi, he saw me driving to the net and made a nice play. I just tried to tip it in.”
Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne, 43, beat Jonathan Quick between the pads for a go-ahead goal with 11:52 to play in regulation.
At Bruins 5, Canadiens 3
Boston rallied from two goals down to avoid another two-game deficit against rival Montreal.
Reilly Smith scored the go-ahead goal with 3:32 left during a flurry where the Bruins scored four times in less than eight minutes to even the East semifinals at one game apiece.
Games 3 and 4 of the best-of-seven series are Tuesday and Thursday in Montreal, where in 2011 Boston won twice in its first-round series after losing the first two at home. The Bruins won that series in seven games and went on to win their first Stanley Cup in 39 years.
The Bruins trailed 3-1 before Dougie Hamilton scored with 9:04 left in the third period, then Patrice Bergeron tied the score with 5:43 to go. After Smith’s goal put Boston ahead 4-3, Milan Lucic added an empty-net score with 1:06 left.