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A NIGHT TO REMEMBER FOR KINGS DESPITE SHORT-HANDED ROSTER, L.A. RALLIES TO BEAT DALLAS IN OT KINGS 3, DALLAS 2 (OT).

Byline: Rich Hammond Staff Writer

If the Kings go on to accomplish something special this season, they'll remember Monday night's 3-2 overtime victory over Dallas in front of 18,118 at Staples Center.

They'll remember Mattias Norstrom, who scored midway through overtime on the power play to give the Kings the unlikely victory with an unlikely goal on his 34th birthday.

They'll remember Lubomir Visnovsky, who scored their first two goals, both on the power play against an excellent Dallas penalty-kill unit, the last of which came with 26.8 seconds left in regulation.

They'll remember Michael Cammalleri, who drew the penalties that led to all three Kings' goals.

They'll remember Mathieu Garon, who made handfuls of clutch saves in a crucial victory.

Come to think of it, the Kings will probably remember all of their healthy players. After all, there weren't that many of them on a night when the Kings went home exhausted but exuberant.

``What made it special is that we found a way to win,'' Norstrom said. ``We were just hanging on at times out there, but we showed a lot of heart, and those are the most fun games to play.''

Norstom scored his second goal of the season, 2:29 into overtime, at the end of what had been a frustrating power play. Norstrom's slap shot cleanly beat Dallas goalie Marty Turco.

``I got (a goal) once in about every 80 games, and I've never had an overtime goal,'' Norstrom said.

The Kings faced enormous odds. With Sean Avery already out of the lineup, the Kings learned shortly before game time that defenseman Nathan Dempsey would be unable to play because of flu-like symptoms, leaving the Kings with just five healthy defensemen instead of the usual six.

Then, late in the first period, forward Dustin Brown was injured after a hit from Dallas' Brendan Morrow and didn't play in the final two periods, leaving the Kings further shorthanded.

After the game, Brown said he was suffering from muscle spasms in the shoulder and back area.

Yet the Kings continued to fight, even against a Dallas team that was ripe for revenge after a loss to the Kings on Saturday, which was the Kings' third victory in four games against the Stars this season.

``It says a lot about the character of this team,'' Luc Robitaille said. ``We battled all night and never quit. We kept battling and battling and when you do that, sooner or later you're going to get rewarded.''

For a while, that seemed unlikely. Dallas took a 1-0 lead on Jussi Jokinen's goal with 38 seconds left in the first period, and the Stars had been 15-0 this season when leading after one period.

Jon Klemm's goal, 9:40 into the second period, gave the Stars a 2-0 lead, and even though the Kings continued to battle, they seemed overmatched and destined to drop two points to the Stars, who entered the game trailing the Kings by three points for first place in the Pacific Division.

Then, it all started to come together. Late in the second period, Cammalleri drew a hooking penalty and Dallas took another penalty for delay of game, and Visnovsky scored with 0.7 seconds left in the period to pull the Kings within 2-1.

Dallas had killed 43 of its opponents' previous 44 power-play attempts entering Monday, but Visnovsky struck again with 26.8 seconds left in regulation with the Kings' net empty when his shot hit Turco's pads and trickled over the line to tie the score 2-2.

Rich Hammond, (818) 713-3611

rich.hammond(at)dailynews.com

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

Photo:

(1) The Kings' Luc Robitaille gets checked by the Stars' Trevor Daley.

(2) The Kings' Tom Kostopoulos, right, mixes it up with the Stars' Brendan Morrow in the first period of Monday's game at Staples Center.

Gus Ruelas/Staff Photographer
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 3, 2006
Words:647
Previous Article:LAKERS NOTEBOOK: L.A. TRIES TO PICK UP DEFENSE.
Next Article:KINGS NOTEBOOK: ROENICK COULD BE BACK SOON.


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