Mercer’s 2nd goal of game lifts Devils over Kings 4-3 in OT

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey Devils are having a great season, and they’re doing it the hard way.

Red-hot Dawson Mercer scored his second goal of the game 2:30 into overtime and New Jersey rallied late to beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 on Thursday night.

Of the Devils’ 38 wins, an NHL-high 21 have come after trailing. Seven have been in games when New Jersey was behind by multiple goals. Chicago has also won seven times when trailing by more than one.

“I think obviously you can say we’re never out of it,” said Mercer, who has seven goals during his career-high five-game goal streak. “We’ve got a talented group in here, a team that plays with that speed, and we’re never out of a game. I think we can create constant pressure.”

Tomas Tatar and Nico Hischier also scored for the Devils. Hischier netted the tying goal with 38 seconds left in regulation, and Vitek Vanecek had 19 saves.

Anze Kopitar, Viktor Arvidsson and defenseman Sean Durzi scored for Los Angeles. Pheonix Copley made 27 saves.

“We’ll take the one (point) we got,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “There’s not a lot of teams that come into this building or play against that team that leave with points. On the other side of it, it is disappointing that we couldn’t get the last 30 seconds done.”

Hischier tied it when he tipped Jack Hughes’ shot past Copley with the Devils’ net empty.

Mercer tipped a pass by Dougie Hamilton past Copley for the game-winner.

“When you’re out there with pretty good players like Dougie and Jack, and if they have the puck, I want to make sure I get myself open and Dougie found me and it went in the back of the net,” said Mercer, who has a career-high 18 goals — two more than he scored as a rookie last season.

Durzi put the Kings ahead 3-2 with 4:19 to play in the third period. He skated in from the left point, took a pass from Kopitar and beat Vanecek for his seventh goal of the season.

Mercer and Tatar had rallied the Devils from a two-goal deficit, setting each other up for goals late in the second period and early in the third.

Mercer, who hit the post in the first period, tied it 2:23 into the third, taking a drop pass from Tatar and beating Copley from the right circle.

The Devils are 9-3 in games decided during the 3-on-3 overtime.

“Their speed can kill people 5-on-5,” McLellan said. “So imagine taking two players off the ice surface. They’re extremely skilled and talented and their offensive players may not be the biggest guys, but they can slither and slide off checks and change pace and escape. That’s probably the reason why they’re winning most of those.”

Kopitar and Arvidsson staked the Kings to a 2-0 lead in the first period.

Kopitar opened the scoring at 7:24, beating Vanecek on a breakaway by rolling a slow shot between his legs for his 20th. The Kings’ captain has goals in four straight games.

Arvidsson got his 17th of the season a little more than four minutes later on a 2-on-1 with Kevin Fiala. Vanecek stopped Fiala’s shot but Arvidsson put the rebound into an open net.

NOTES: The Devils will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their 2003 Stanley Cup championship on Saturday before a game with Philadelphia. … The 35-year-old Kopitar has a dozen 20-goal seasons since joining the NHL in 2006-07. … The multiple-point game for Kopitar was his 125th on the road, tying him for third place in Kings history with Wayne Gretzky. Marcel Dionne (175) is the team’s career leader. … Kings F Adrian Kempe picked up an assist on Kopitar’s goal and has a career-high seven-game point streak (eight goals, four assists).


Kings: Play the Islanders in New York on Friday.

Devils: Face the Flyers on Saturday to finish a four-game homestand.


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