LOS ANGELES – This wasn't the train the Los Angeles Kings usually take to victory. Fortunately for them, the Mike Richards-Jeff Carter line was simply running late.
Carter deflected Richards' shot 28 seconds into overtime to give L.A. a 4-3 win Wednesday night against the Ottawa Senators at Staples Center to end an uncharacteristic Kings game in which they blew a 3-0 lead.
Ottawa, without captain Jason Spezza, stormed back with third-period goals by Bobby Ryan (his first as a Senator) and Milan Michalek before Carter scored with Clarke MacArthur serving the remainder of a third-period hooking penalty on Drew Doughty.
"It's on his stick, it's in the net," Kings captain Dustin Brown said of Carter. "He's a game-breaker for us."
It didn't look like Carter had to do much, and he said as much afterward of his team-leading fourth goal.
"They just left me there alone," Carter said. "We saw it in the power play before. Brown was sitting at the net for 30 seconds by himself, so I knew if they get a shot through I've got to get a stick on it."
L.A., which went 19-1-2 last season when leading after two periods, has been outscored 6-3 in the third period this season. But two points are two points, particularly with a four-game road trip on tap.
"It's a double-edged sword," Brown said. "We've blown leads and [another] one tonight, but over the long haul, if we're going to be successful, we've got to lock games down and, this team has been, over the last three or four years, probably one of the best teams doing that. We've got to get back to doing that."
Spezza appeared ready after he participated in the morning skate, but Ottawa opted to rest his sore groin and get three more days of rest before a weekend back-to-back sequence. Stephane Da Costa took his spot on the top line, but Senators coach Paul MacLean later mixed it up after a disastrous start.
Ottawa came back, coincidentally with Spezza's, or Ryan's line.
His first goal as a Senator was a beauty, a wicked snap shot over Jonathan Quick's left shoulder at 5:58 to pull Ottawa to 3-2. A former Anaheim Duck, Ryan was expectedly booed in a building where he has had considerable success, and familiarity with the Kings.
"This is a tough building and no one likes to come into this building," Ryan said. "This was one of those games where I've known Quickie for so long and I know how he plays. To finally get one on him and shoot him a text after this game is going to feel pretty good."
Ryan admitted that the media spotlight was intense for him to score soon, and it weighed on him.
"You guys made it a weight," Ryan said with a laugh. "Two games. It is what it is. But it did feel good. And it is a weight. It's only been a couple of games, but it felt like a long-time coming with the way the summer went. I'm very, very excited to get the ball rolling, I guess."
Michalek delivered the tying goal when he grabbed the puck and shot it through heavy traffic with 4:27 remaining in the third. Quick never had a chance.
It was Quick's first game since he allowed a 180-foot blooper goal against the Rangers on Monday, and the former Conn Smythe Trophy winner stopped 22 shots, including a left-to-right pad save on Da Costa late in the third.
Until the third period, Brown was leading the way to a much-needed, bounce-back win with two opening-period goals after Kings coach Darryl Sutter tweaked his lineup with the insertions of Daniel Carcillo and Alec Martinez.
Brown came out of the penalty box in time to collect Ryan's missed-shot rim-around and beat Senators goalie Craig Anderson by the far post at 6:39 of the first period. Brown, who also induced two penalties, easily tipped home from the top of the crease Carter's feed just as a 5-on-3 penalty expired for a 3-0 lead just over 14 minutes later.
"We got to stop taking penalties, for whatever reason," MacLean said. "We can't just sit there and say the officials don't like us or anything like that. We have to stop taking penalties. We've got to get our feet moving. We've got to play harder and stop putting ourselves and putting our team in a bad spot."
Anderson fell to 1-7-4 lifetime against L.A.
Los Angeles has won eight of the past 10 meetings with Ottawa and is 12-1-1 all-time at home against the Senators, who haven't won at Staples Center since Jan.11, 2000.