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Kings let lead slip away late to fall to Devils in overtime

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

Of the Devils’ 38 wins, an NHL-high 21 has come from a deficit. Seven were in games as New Jersey trailed by several goals. Chicago has also won seven times by more than one.

“I think you can clearly say we’re never going to figure it out,” said Mercer, who scored seven goals on his career five-goal streak. “We have a talented group here, a team that plays at that speed, and we are never out of a game. I think we can create constant pressure.”

Tomas Tatar and Nico Hischier also scored for the Devils. Hischier scored the equalizing goal with 38 seconds left and Vitek Vanecek had 19 saves.

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

“We’re taking the point we’ve got,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “There aren’t many teams that come into this building or play against that team that leaves with points. On the other hand, it is disappointing that we could not complete the last 30 seconds.”

Hischier equalized when he tagged Jack Hughes’ shot past Copley with the Devils’ net empty.

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

“When you’re out there with pretty good players like Dougie and Jack, and when they have the puck, I want to make sure I open myself up and Dougie found me and it went in the back of the net,” said Mercer, who scored 18 goals in his career – 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 found the Devils back from a two-goal deficit, putting up goals late in the second period and early in the third period.

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

The Devils are 9-3 in games decided at three-on-three overtime.

“Their speed can kill people five out of five,” McLellan said. “So imagine taking two players off the ice. They are extremely skilled and talented and their attacking players may not be the biggest guys, but they can slip and slide chess, change pace and escape. That’s probably why they win most of those.”

Kopitar and Arvidsson gave the Kings 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 games in a row.

Arvidsson got his 17th of the season just over four minutes later on a two-on-one rush. with Kevin Fiala. Vanecek stopped Fiala’s shot, but Arvidsson fired the rebound into an open net.