Iafallo caps Kings’ rally to beat Sabres 3-2
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Alex Iafallo scored with 6:19 to play and the Los Angeles Kings rallied to beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Sunday.
Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist, Carl Grundstrom scored and the Kings won consecutive games for the first time this season. Jonathan Quick made 22 saves.
“That shoe’s been on the other foot, where we’ve been ahead by a goal and we didn’t come out of it with a win. So to do it coming from behind and to get the win, I think it means a lot to our group right now,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said.
Rasmus Asplund and Victor Olofsson each scored for the Sabres, which lost to a Western Conference team for the first time in four games. Dustin Tokarski stopped 31 shots.
Buffalo allowed three straight goals after building a multigoal lead for the second straight game. They were able to salvage a 4-3 overtime win at Anaheim on Thursday after leading 3-0 in the second period.
“We’ve been successful at getting the leads but can’t find a way to hold them, and I think that’s a big learning step for us,” Sabres defenseman Jacob Bryson said. “If we want to win a lot of games in this league, that’s something we’re going to have to take into account.”
Iafallo buried Tobias Bjornfot’s clever pass to the edge of the crease to give the Kings the lead with about six minutes left, extending his point streak to three games (three goals, two assists).
“I think this guy’s a tremendous player. Tremendous player,” McLellan said of Iafallo, who is second on the team with four goals and eight points. “Everybody wants to keep taking something away from him, analytics, whatever. I don’t give a (darn) about any of that stuff.”
Buffalo led 2-0 at 7:39 of the second period when Olofsson scored on a wrist shot off a 2-on-1 rush.
Grundstrom responded with his second goal — off his own rebound — to pull within 2-1 at 8:39.
Grundstrom played because Kings forward Viktor Arvidsson was a late scratch after he and forward Gabe Vilardi were placed in COVID-19 protocol Sunday. Arvidsson participated in warmups before being pulled from the lineup.
“Today, losing a player after warmup was a bit of a jolt, but handled well by everybody,” McLellan said. “Reacted properly, and that’s why we have two extra guys taking warmup right now. It might seem odd, but you never know when you’re going to get that call.”
Kopitar scored six seconds into a power play to tie it at 2 at 4:50 of the third period. It was his 100th career power-play goal.
The Sabres’ first shorthanded goal of the season put them up 1-0 at 3:07 into the second period. Asplund intercepted Arthur Kaliyev’s weak pass to break the other way and score for the third time in two games.
While transition offense got Buffalo its lead, coach Don Granato said the lack of sustained possession and taking inopportune penalties allowed Los Angeles back into the game.
“It’s a little bit harder to control momentum in somebody else’s building so, yeah, you have to pay a lot more attention to details when you’re on the road in those situations,” he said. “Like every other team, we have to take all this information that’s at us and take it to heart and become better because of it.”
With Buffalo set to face San Jose on Tuesday — seven Sharks players and coach Bob Boughner are in the protocol — Granato expressed worry that his team is dealing with a situation that ”does seem like it’s escalating all around us.”
“We’ve all adjusted to it, and it looks like we’re all going to have to keep adjusting to it,” Granato added. “I don’t know what to tell you and how I feel. I’m not sure how I feel. It’s obviously a very delicate situation.”
Olofsson has three goals and two assists during a three-game point streak. … Asplund has three goals and one assist during a three-game point streak. … Kopitar got his second straight multipoint game. He has four multipoint performances through the Kings’ first eight games. … Bjornfot and Kings F Adrian Kempe each had two assists.
Sabres: Visit San Jose on Tuesday night.
Kings: Host St. Louis on Wednesday night.
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