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Kings Even Series With Blues 2-2

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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anze Kopitar tied it with 12:46 to play, Justin Williams tipped home the go-ahead goal 76 seconds later, and the Los Angeles Kings  evened their first-round series with the St. Louis Blues with a 4-3 victory Monday night.

Jeff Carter and Dustin Penner also scored for the defending Stanley Cup champions. They erased an early two-goal deficit and a third-period deficit to earn their ninth consecutive home victory since March 23. Jonathan Quick made 19 saves.

T.J. Oshie scored his first two playoff goals for the Blues, who had the champs on the brink of serious trouble before Kopitar and Williams beat Brian Elliott, who stopped 25 shots.

Game 5 is Wednesday in St. Louis, with Game 6 back at Staples Center on Friday.

Mike Richards had two assists for Los Angeles, which dropped the first two games of the series in St. Louis and barely survived for a 1-0 victory in Game 3.

But just when the Kings appeared to be in serious trouble heading into the waning minutes of Game 4 against hungry St. Louis, they rallied with the timely goal-scoring that saved them so often during their run to their first championship last year.

The Kings hadn’t won a playoff game after trailing by two goals since 2001, but they fell behind 2-0 in the opening minutes of Game 4. Los Angeles then erased a 3-2 deficit in the third period with two stunning goals.

The first came from Kopitar, who banged home a pass from captain Dustin Brown. Los Angeles’ perennial scoring leader was in a profound goal-scoring slump, failing to score in the previous 19 games since March 25.

Moments later, Williams slipped in front of Elliott and expertly tipped home Richards’ shot from the boards. A video review couldn’t conclusively determine whether Williams’ stick had been illegally high.

Quick was seriously tested in the final seconds after St. Louis pulled Elliott for an extra attacker, but the sellout Staples Center crowd waved white towels to celebrate another dramatic postseason win.

Both teams struggled offensively during the first three games, never leading by more than a goal. After the Blues’ identical 2-1 victories at home, Quick posted his fifth career playoff shutout in Game 3.

The tenor of the series changed abruptly Monday night. The Blues and Kings scored four goals in the first 14 1/2 minutes and combined for seven goals — the same number they scored in the first three games of the defense-dominated series combined.

That offensive struggle disappeared 72 seconds into Game 4, when Los Angeles left David Backes unchecked as he put a wide rebound off the end boards into Quick’s unguarded net for his first goal of the series. Just 3:20 later, Oshie deflected Kevin Shattenkirk’s shot in front of Quick for his first goal in 17 career playoff games.

Staples Center fell silent after the Blues took the first multigoal lead of the series, but the Kings swiftly answered.

Richards got the puck along the boards and found his good friend Carter in front for a quick goal midway through the period. Carter led the Western Conference with 26 goals in the regular season, but had managed just nine shots and a minus-2 rating in the first three games.

The Kings evened it with a 3-on-1 finished by Penner. The two-time Stanley Cup winner got his first playoff goal since his overtime winner to end last season’s Western Conference finals in Phoenix.

Oshie put the Blues back ahead shortly after a second-period timeout, sending a rebound of Vladimir Sobotka’s shot over a prone Quick at a sharp angle.
 (© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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