(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NHLI via Getty Images)

Las Vegas–Tonight it was a matchup between two Pacific Division heavyweights as the Vegas Golden Knights and Los Angeles Kings squared off in a playoff like fashion atmosphere.

Before the rivalry game started the Los Angeles Kings organization brought to the ice the 2018 USA Hockey Women’s Team fresh off of their Gold Medal win in South Korea for the ceremonial puck drop in front of 18,230 fans at Staples Center.

It was the Golden Knights debut of newly acquired forward Ryan Reaves and he made his presence felt all night with his 4 hits of the game. Reaves also reacquainted himself with Kings forward Kyle Clifford giving chirping at him just like old times from the Blues vs Kings days.

Reaves also logged 7:12 of total ice time in his first game with the Golden Knights.

Vegas welcomed back into lineup forward James Neal who missed the last three games with the flu.

In the opening period of the game, the Golden Knights found the back of the net first off of scoring play that was started by Luca Sbisa. Sbisa found Neal in the neutral zone in transition as he fed Erik Haula the puck up the ice.

Haula with the support of David Perron went into Kings territory on a 2 on 1 and it was “The Finnish” taking it upstairs on Jonathan Quick for the 1-0 Vegas lead at 4:37 of the game. The second line center netted his 23rd goal of the season.

The Golden Knights would get their second goal of the game off the opening shift in the 3rd period. Jonathan Marchessault was in the neutral zone when he connected with Reilly Smith and the initial scoring attempt off of Quick the loose puck found William Karlsson along the boards.

Karlsson dished the puck out to Marchessault where he would try his luck on Quick but was denied as well and picking it up was Smith as he finally put it home on his back for a 2-0 Golden Knights lead just 47 seconds into the period. On the lengthy scoring play, Smith recorded his 21st goal of the year.

For the Los Angeles Kings they mounted a comeback on the Golden Knights at the 12:28 mark of the period. The comeback was led by Kings forward Jeff Carter.

Los Angeles was on the power play and Carter’s initial shot was stopped by Marc-André Fleury but after an unfortunate turn of events the puck accidentally made contact with Vegas’s Cody Eakin‘s helmet and ended up causing an own goal on the sequence that cut into the Golden Knights lead 2-1.

This marked the second time in a week where Eakin caused an own goal against the Golden Knights.

In the late stages of the 3rd period, Kings Head Coach John Stevens elected to pull Quick for the extra attacker in an effort to try and knot the Stanley Cup Playoff type game up a 2-2.

Well his move paid off and with 10.8 seconds left in regulation Anze Kopitar with time and space connected off of a feed from the point by Dion Phaneuf and went backdoor on Fleury that tied it up at 2-2.

Kopitar’s late strike forced overtime and for the Kings they found a bit of a break when Golden Knights defenseman Colin Miller was called with a rare 4th period hooking penalty on Tobias Rieder.

With less than two minutes to go in the overtime frame, it was Dustin Brown the hero for the Los Angeles Kings as he would score the game winning goal on Fleury at the doorstep for the 3-2 victory.

Fluery in the loss made 41 saves on 44 total shots he faced against a very desperate Kings team looking for some important points late in the season to keep their playoff hopes alive. He was also record a .932 save percentage.

Vegas earned a point and improved to 87 points in the standings while still holding on to their 2nd place overall spot in the NHL behind the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 41-16-5 record.

The good news for the Golden Knights is that tomorrow night in Vegas they have the opportunity to get back at Los Angeles for tonight’s loss.

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