Jeff Carter scored for the Los Angeles Kings with less than a minute left in the overtime period to beat the Dallas Stars 4-3 on Sunday night at Staples Center.
Dallas salvaged a point for the overtime loss, though, to tie Detroit with 48 points and three games left to play in the chase for the Western Conference’s eighth playoff seed, currently held by Columbus at 51 points. The Blue Jackets have two games remaining, and the Red Wings have four. Minnesota, which also has 51 points and holds the seventh seed, has three games left.
The Stars play Columbus and Detroit in their last two games of the season.
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.
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.