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Pittsburgh's three third-period goals just one short

3/17/2002

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Time ran out on the Pittsburgh Penguins just
as they were starting to find their scoring touch against the Los
Angeles Kings.

Mikko Eloranta scored 13 seconds after the opening faceoff and
Jaroslav Bednar got his first NHL goal on a power play to give the
Kings a four-goal lead, enough for Los Angeles to hold off the
Penguins, 4-3 Saturday.

Bednar's goal put the Kings up 4-0 with 3:19 left in the second,
but Pittsburgh rallied with three goals in a 5:06 span of the
third.

Randy Robitaille and Michael Rozsival connected on power plays,
both converting passes from Alexei Kovalev, and rookie Kris Beech
scored 27 seconds later to make it a one-goal game with 5:05
remaining.

"That shouldn't happen when you have a 4-0 lead," Kings center
Ian Laperriere said. "You just can't sit back after taking a lead
like that, especially against a team like Pittsburgh.

"It's sad that we have to be saying this 14 games before the
playoffs, but we just have to learn that we've got to respect our
opponents more than we did today."

Coach Andy Murray echoed Laperriere's sentiments.

"To be very honest, I don't think we were deserving of a 4-0
lead," Murray said. "I was not real pleased with the way our team
played.

"We did not show the right level of respect for our opponent,"
he added. "When you don't respect an opponent enough in this
league, you get kicked in the teeth. And we almost got kicked in
the teeth. Pittsburgh's got so much skill, they can lull you to
sleep. And Alexei Kovalev is just magic with the puck."

Pittsburgh's Jean-Sebastien Aubin, starting consecutive games
for the fourth time this season, was replaced by Johan Hedberg at
the start of the second period after surrendering three goals on 10
shots in the first.

The Kings scored on their first shot, as Aubin couldn't handle
Eloranta's sharp-angle wrister from the right circle.

Eloranta's sixth goal of the season was six seconds off Tiger
Williams' club record for the fastest from the start of a game, and
four seconds off the Penguins' record for the quickest allowed
after the opening faceoff -- by Philadelphia's Ross Lonsberry.

The Kings made it 2-0 at 6:45 of the first when Schneider's
one-timer from 40 feet in the slot banked in off the upper body of
Penguins defenseman Darius Kasparaitis.

Emerson carried the puck into the zone and beat Aubin to the
stick side with a slap shot from the top of the right circle for
his fifth goal, giving the Kings a 3-0 lead at 15:03 of the first.

"They were shooting from everywhere, and we just skated around
watching them. That's not the way we can afford to play," Kovalev
said. "We showed how we're supposed to play toward the end of the
third period, so why couldn't we do the same thing right from the
beginning and play all 60 minutes?"

Pittsburgh lost its third consecutive game despite the additions of
defenseman Jamie Pushor and right wing Shean Donovan to the lineup.
Pushor was obtained from Columbus on Friday for a fourth-round choice in 2003, and Shean Donovan was claimed off waivers from Atlanta.

Game notes
The Kings announced during the third period that they
acquired 15-year veteran center Cliff Ronning from Nashville in a trade
that sent defenseman Jere Karalahti and a conditional choice in the
2003 entry draft to the Predators. ... Pittsburgh claimed left wing Jeff
Toms off waivers Saturday from the New York Rangers. The Penguins
are Toms' fifth NHL team, Pushor's fifth team, and Donovan's
fourth. ... Laperriere earned his 100th NHL assist on Eloranta's
goal. ... Robitaille's goal and assist gave him 10 points in his
last nine games.