Kempe scores two late goals to lead the Kings past the Penguins and end Jagr’s night!

Kempe scores 2 late goals, lifts Kings past Penguins to spoil Jagr night

Adrian Kempe scored twice late in the third period to lead the Los Angeles Kings past the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 and foil Jaromir Jagr’s retirement celebration at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday afternoon.

Kempe tied it 1-1 at 13:49 with a one-timer from the point, following up a pass from Drew Doughty, before scoring shorthanded for an insurance goal on 2-on-1 from the right face-off circle at 16:50; this marked his 19th goal this season and 300th point overall in NHL play.

“We stuck it out. We were patient. Just fought hard for each other out there and got two goals at the end,” Kempe stated after their win over South Elgin XI 1-0, saying they played solid yet again and were awarded two deserving points they didn’t earn previously.

Cam Talbot made 29 saves to keep their streak alive against Boston, winning 3 in a row and five of six, including Saturday’s 5-4 overtime triumph over them.

Sidney Crosby scored, while Tristan Jarry made 31 saves to give the Penguins (24-21-7, 2-5-2 NHL, 9 points in 52 games played in 2012-13 season), who have dropped four of five, an important win against Columbus Blue Jackets (25-21-21).

“We spent more time in our end zone than is ideal,” stated Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan. “Despite that, I think we defended fairly hard most of the game; however, we would have preferred controlling territory more effectively as that’s an integral component to winning games and staying on top. As a group, we could have done better.”

Crosby opened up scoring at 18:43 of the first period when, five seconds into a power play from Erik Karlsson, he one-timed his pass from above the right circle for an unassisted goal from the top proper process atop right ring to put Pittsburgh up 1-0 and mark his 31st of this season, and third goal scored within two games of one another.

Karlsson noted, “Scoring only one goal can be challenging in this league.” ‘Jars’ gave his all for us again and gave us an edge; unfortunately, we would have liked more pucks in the net, but that wasn’t possible today – mainly since their equalizer in the third threw us off track.”
Pittsburgh completed 1-for-5 on the power play, failing to capitalize on three opportunities following Crosby’s goal.

“They have some talented players on their power play, and it was impressive how we blocked lanes to limit an easy shot to the net for them,” Los Angeles coach Jim Hiller noted. “Credit must go to two forwards at the top for being willing to block shots when necessary.”

Each team held a pregame ceremony honoring Jagr for approximately 40 minutes on its bench, lasting about 15 to 25 minutes per team.

Jagr was celebrated with former teammates, coaches, and management as his number 67 was retired, joining Mario Lemieux (66) and Michel Briere (21). Jagr took pregame warmups before watching the game from his suite.

“It is extraordinary anytime one can witness or participate in the retirement of any jersey, let alone that of Jaromir…he is legendary in our game,” Crosby stated after participating. “From having heard about it yesterday to experiencing it ourselves today – all feel very honored to participate!”

From 1990-2001 with the Penguins from 1990-2001, Jagr won two Stanley Cup championships – in 1991 and 1992 – while amassing 1,079 points (439 goals and 640 assists). His total was fourth behind Lemieux (1.723), Crosby (1,557), and Evgeni Malkin (1,270).

“You know there will be some reaction when they get their first shot with Sid. Once that happened and everyone began cheering him on to show [Jagr] off in the press box etc.., fans were going to become emotionally invested instantly, and we did an effective job calming them down after that; there wasn’t a whole lot left for them to cheer about!” Talbot suggested.

Talbot finally earned his first victory since December 23, ending an 0-7-3 skid. Karlsson (185 goals, 614 assists) moved one point away from 800 in the NHL, while Kempe (525 games) became only second active player (Anze Kopitar is faster) to reach 300 career points with the Los Angeles Kings. Also, Pittsburgh forward Jansen Harkins, who returned after missing two games due to concussion, recorded two shots on goal and two hits within 5:11 of ice time with Jansen Harkins had two shots on goal and two hits during 5:11. Forward Matthew Phillips had one shot on goal. He hit during 11:00 of his debut after being claimed off waivers from the Washington Capitals last Friday.

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