LOS ANGELES (AP) – Jeff Carter deflected the winning goal off his upper body with 51 seconds left in overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings took sole possession of fourth place in the Western Conference with a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars on Sunday night.
Captain Dustin Brown scored two goals for the defending Stanley Cup champions, and Mike Richards scored an early goal before putting the puck off Carter’s chest for the overtime winner — Carter’s 25th goal of a standout season.
The Kings (26-14-5) moved two points clear of San Jose for fourth place and home-ice advantage in the first round after the Sharks lost to Columbus.
Alex Goligoski scored early in the third period and Kari Lehtonen stopped 27 shots for the Stars, who have lost three of four.
Loui Eriksson and Antoine Roussel also scored for the Stars (22-19-4), who sit three points behind the Blue Jackets and Minnesota for the final playoff spot. The Stars have a game in hand on Columbus, but Detroit is even with Dallas in ninth place with 48 points, and the Red Wings have a game in hand on the Stars.
Jonathan Quick made 24 saves while beating Dallas for the first time in four tries this season. Los Angeles also prevented rival Anaheim from clinching its second Pacific Division title in franchise history after the Ducks won at Edmonton earlier. Los Angeles trails Anaheim by five points with three games left.
The Kings overcame two difficult calls against them while ending Dallas’ four-game Staples Center winning streak in a chippy, bad-tempered meeting between division rivals. Los Angeles has won six of its last nine games, earning a point in all but one game.
Los Angeles is 18-4-1 at home this season, but Dallas was responsible for two of those regulation losses.
After Richards opened the scoring early in the first period, Brown got his 17th goal of a strong season with a clinical wrist shot into a tiny opening early in the second period. Just 20 seconds later, Eriksson took a wild swing at a deflection of Ray Whitney’s shot, getting just the second goal in 17 games and the fifth point in 13 games by Dallas’ leading scorer.
The Stars evened it late in the second period after Ryan Garbutt swatted a puck out of mid-air with what appeared to be a blatant high stick. The deflection landed right on the stick of Roussel, who scored his seventh goal of the season.
The four officials discussed the goal at length, but apparently couldn’t use video review for Garbutt’s deflection. The goal stood, and Quick skated out of his crease and slapped his stick on the ice in anger.
Dallas and Los Angeles were tied heading to the third period for the fifth time this season — but just 10 seconds in, the puck went behind Lehtonen while Los Angeles’ Trevor Lewis crashed the net. The referees blew the play dead for unclear reasons, incensing the sellout Staples Center crowd.
Moments later, Goligoski jumped on a loose puck in the slot after a ragged series of passes and deflections, scoring his third goal in 44 games. The Kings came back with fire from those tough breaks, and Brown tied it with a power-play goal off a rebound.
NOTES: Dallas LW Lane MacDermid returned to the lineup after seven straight games while nursing an upper-body injury. He scored a goal at Anaheim in each of his first two games after arriving in a trade from Boston. … D Trevor Daley also returned for the Stars after a one-game absence with an upper-body injury. Jordie Benn was scratched. … Lewis played in his 200th NHL game.
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