Los Angeles Kings, Vegas Golden Knights

Kings Beat Golden Knights – Kovalchuk Scores Twice

LOS ANGELES — Ilya Kovalchuk had two goals, Dustin Brown had two assists and the last-place Los Angeles Kings closed the season with a 5-2 victory over the playoff-bound Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night.

Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist for Los Angeles while Jeff Carter and Matt Roy also had goals. Jonathan Quick made 29 saves.

Los Angeles Kings Jonathan Quick Vegas Golden Knights Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick stops a shot by Vegas Golden Knights forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

The Kings finished last in the Western Conference with 71 points, but won six of its last 11 games.

Brandon Pirri and Valentin Zykov scored for Vegas, which is the seventh team in NHL history to make the playoffs in each of its first two seasons. The Golden Knights, third in the Pacific Division, will open the Stanley Cup Playoffs at San Jose. Mark-Andre Fleury made 27 saves.

Kovalchuk stripped the puck from Zykov in the neutral zone and skated up the left side of the ice before beating Fleury on his glove side at 12:14 of the first. It was Kovalchuk’s first goal since March 2.

Carter extended the lead with five minutes remaining in the first when he was able to cash in on a rebound of his own shot for his 13th. Fleury made pad saves on the first two attempts before Carter got his third goal this season against the Golden Knights.

Roy got his second of the season at 10:35 of the second with a shot that went in off the crossbar after taking a pass from Brown.

Vegas then scored two goals less than three minutes apart. The Golden Knights got on the board 16 seconds after Roy’s goal when Pirri got a loose puck near the right faceoff circle and fired a slap shot past Quick for his 12th

Zykov got the Golden Knights with his second of the season at 13:09 when he put in the net on a perfect pass from Jimmy Schuldt, who was playing in his first NHL game. Quick came out too far in front of the net, which left Zykov open.

Kopitar provided some breathing room 8:52 into the third with a power-play goal. Kopitar tapped in the loose puck for his 22nd after a mad scramble in the crease. Kovalchuk added an empty-netter with 55 seconds remaining for his 16th.

NOTES: Vegas D Nate Schmidt, D Shea Theodore, RW Reilly Smith and RW Mark Stone were all healthy scratches as the Golden Knights get set for the playoffs. … The five goals prevented Los Angeles from having the fewest goals in the NHL this season. They finished with 202, two more than Anaheim. It was the fifth-fewest goals the Kings have scored in an 82-game season. … Kopitar, who played in his 1,000th NHL game last Monday, was honoured before the game. … Los Angeles C Blake Lizotte, who was a teammate of Schuldt’s at St. Cloud State, also made his NHL debut. Both signed their entry-level contracts earlier in the week.

UP NEXT

Golden Knights: Will face San Jose in the first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Kings: Season complete.

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Follow Joe Reedy at www.twitter.com/joereedy

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Joe Reedy, The Associated Press

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