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Blackhawks beat Kings 6-5 in OT after blowing four-goal lead in third period

LOS ANGELES - Patrick Sharp saved the day for the Chicago Blackhawks, who were anything but sharp in the third period against the stubborn Los Angeles Kings.

Sharp scored his second goal of the game 1:48 into overtime and the Blackhawks escaped Staples Center with a 6-5 victory on Saturday after blowing a four-goal lead in the third period.

"Hockey games are never over. If you give a team the chance to come back, they're going to take it," Chicago coach Denis Savard said. "That is a team that can score goals. We talked about that before the game. We executed our game, protected the puck and didn't turn it over. We just didn't have good coverage."

Sharp, who leads the Blackhawks with 29 goals, also scored on a power play in the first period to help Chicago win for the fifth time in six games and salvage a split of the four-game season series.

The Blackhawks built a 5-1 advantage in the second period with four goals in a 4:06 span. Martin Havlat and defenceman Andrei Zyuzin scored 15 seconds apart, and Jonathan Toews and Jason Williams scored 70 seconds apart.

"When they tied it up, you're pretty much on your heels and it's hard to stay positive when they're so confident and have so much momentum," Toews said. "Obviously we made some mistakes, but we worked hard and stayed in it."

Kings defenceman Peter Harrold scored his first NHL goal, and Michael Cammalleri, Tom Preissing, Patrick O'Sullivan and Anze Kopitar added goals in the final 11 minutes of regulation.

"That was a lot of blood and guts there in the third period. This is as good an overtime loss as you're ever going to see," Kings coach Marc Crawford said. "It was special to see our guys battle the way they did. It's a real character builder for our team."

Kopitar's goal came with 13.3 seconds left in regulation on a cross-ice pass from Alexander Frolov, just moments after Kings defenceman Jack Johnson blocked Toews' attempt at an empty-net goal from just outside the Los Angeles blue-line.

"I think we deserved that point," said Kopitar, who leads the Kings with 27 goals. "Going into the third period down 5-1, you have to work hard and show some emotion. You have to show that you're not quitting. Then the goals start coming and everyone gets excited."

In a matchup of the last-place teams in the Central and Pacific Divisions, both teams were forced to start their backup goaltenders due to injuries. Patrick Lalime made 34 saves while filling in for Nikolai Khabibulin, who was sidelined by back spasms after posting his and the Blackhawks' first shutout of the season on Wednesday against Minnesota.

Dan Cloutier allowed five goals on 23 shots in place of Jason LaBarbera, who missed his second straight game with a groin strain. The Blackhawks chased him to the bench after Williams' goal at 8:17 of the second period.

"If we could find a way to start games like we played in the third period, we'd be a heck of a hockey team," Cloutier said with a faint laugh. "But for me, I've got to be better on some of those goals."

Crawford replaced Cloutier with Erik Ersberg, who made his NHL debut and became the 10th different goalie to play for the team since the start of last season. He stopped the first 18 shots he faced before giving up Sharp's overtime goal on a rebound after making an arm save on Brent Seabrook's wrist shot.

"When you come in from the bench, you don't have time to think very much. You just go in and play," Ersberg said. "I got off to a good start with a couple of easy shots, and then I just kept on going."

Notes: On Nov. 10 at Staples Center, the Kings scored four goals in a 5:07 span of the third period to erase a three-goal deficit and beat Dallas 6-5 on Kopitar's overtime goal. ... The Kings have outscored opponents 18-7 in the third period over the last 13 games. ... Lalime has won seven of his last 10 starts. ... Corey Crawford was recalled from Rockford of the AHL to serve as Lalime's backup. ... Sharp has eight power play goals. His league-leading seven short-handed goals are as many as the Kings have scored as a team. ... Chicago's defenceman have combined for 38 goals, 17 more than last season.


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