By JOE REEDY , AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Roope Hintz and the Dallas Stars got a big win Thursday night in what is becoming a competitive race in the Western Conference.
Hintz’s goal 3:19 into overtime to lift the Stars to a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings that vaulted them into the first wild-card spot. They are a point ahead of Minnesota and Colorado, while Arizona is only two points back.
“Everyone in this locker room is aware of where we are at in the standings,” said Dallas forward Blake Comeau, who had two assists. “We’re playing a lot of these teams that we are in the race with coming down the stretch. Not to take anything away from LA, but they are not fighting for a playoff spot. This is definitely a game we had to win.”
Hintz scored in a mad scramble in front of the net after Alexander Radulov’s shot bounced off Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick. Dallas trailed 3-2 after two periods, but Radek Faksa tied it at 9:53 of the third when he scored his 12th goal of the season on a rebound of a slap shot by Comeau.
“We needed to get pucks deep and get a lot of shots, that way we were able to get rebounds,” said Hintz, who has five goals this season.
The Kings have dropped 10 straight — the second-longest losing streak in franchise history — and are at the bottom of the Western Conference. Of those losses, four have been either in overtime or a shootout.
“It’s frustrating to lose it in the third. It seems like that’s a common trend right now,” Kings defenseman Sean Walker said.
What makes this loss even more frustrating for Los Angeles is that it led 2-0 in the first period and 3-2 going into the third, only to fall short again.
Tyler Seguin and Mattias Janmark had Dallas’ other goals, while Ben Lovejoy also had two assists. Anton Khudobin made 27 saves.
“It was definitely a gutsy effort. We fell behind 2-0 and I thought from that 6 ½-minute mark on, we played with a lot of passion and purpose,” Dallas coach Jim Montgomery said. “Seguin got us that first goal and we just continued to build from there.”
Anze Kopitar scored two goals and had an assist for Los Angeles. Brendan Leipsic added a goal and Quick stopped 29 shots.
Los Angeles took a 2-0 lead in the first period. Kopitar opened the scoring at 7:57 when he tapped in Sean Walker’s pass. The Kings extended their lead at 13:28 on the power play as Drew Doughty’s shot from the point deflected off Leipsic, who got his fifth goal of the season.
It was Los Angeles’ first power-play goal in six games and broke a string during which it had not converted in its last 15 opportunities.
Dallas cut the lead in half 80 seconds later when Seguin took Taylor Fedun’s pass near the crease and beat Quick on his stick side for his team-high 27th of the season. The Stars then tied it at 2 6:14 into the second on Janmark’s backhander in front of the net for his sixth.
Los Angeles regained the lead at 11:46 of the second on Kopitar’s team-leading 19th goal of the season. Khudobin made a pad save on Tyler Toffoli’s wrist shot, but Kopitar was able to corral the rebound and put it into the net.
“Obviously tonight it was better, but at the end of the day it’s the wins that come and the two points, but we couldn’t get it done again,” Kopitar said.
Dallas center Andrew Cogliano missed his first game due to injury in his 12-year career. Cogliano flew back to Dallas to get treatment after suffering a shoulder injury during Tuesday’s loss to Vegas.
The only two games Cogliano missed previously were due to a suspension last season when he was with Anaheim. That suspension broke a streak of 830 consecutive games played, which was the fourth-longest in NHL history. The Stars acquired Cogliano in a trade with the Ducks on Jan. 14.
NOTES: Dallas LW Jamie Benn and Los Angeles LW Ilya Kovalchuk were both scratched due to upper-body injuries. … This was only the sixth game this season where the Kings have scored two or more goals in the first period. … Seguin has eight goals and 19 points in 21 career games against the Kings.
Stars: Travel to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday to complete a four-game road trip.
Kings: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.
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