Jack Johnson scored on a power play with a minute left in overtime Friday to lift the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in the teams’ season opener.
Johnson tapped in a pass from Mike Richards, who had scored with five minutes to go in regulation to make it 2-2. Richards came to Los Angeles during the offseason from Philadelphia.
The sold-out stadium threw its full support behind the Rangers and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who is considered a legend in the hockey-loving country. Playing his first NHL game in his home country, Lundqvist didn’t let his fans down, displaying the kind of game that has made him one of the NHL’s best.
He made a superb glove save on a blistering shot by Dustin Brown with less than one minute to go in the first period, and blocked a wraparound attempt by Justin Williams halfway through the second.
The Rangers were spotty on defense in the first period, making several clearing mistakes that turned into scoring chances for the Kings.
Ruslan Fedotenko and Artem Anisimov botched a clearing attempt in the Rangers’ zone in the first period. That allowed Williams to steal the puck and feed Anze Kopitar, who beat Lundqvist with a wrist shot.
The Rangers quickly regrouped, scoring their first goal of the season five minutes later. Feditenko and Anisimov assisted on a sharply angled shot by Ryan Callahan.
The Kings failed to capitalize on four power plays in regular time. But they made the most of a power play in overtime after Rangers defensemen Ryan McDonagh was sent off for holding.
Marian Gaborik scored for Rangers halfway through the third period from just outside the crease. He was assisted by Brandon Dubinsky and Rangers newcomer Brad Richards — the line with which much of the Rangers’ hopes ride this year.
The Kings’ first goal was scored by Anze Kopitar, who also assisted on the winning goal in overtime.
The Rangers will remain in Stockholm to play the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Saturday, while the Kings travel to Berlin to play the Buffalo Sabres.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.