Final OT

Series (Game 1 of 1)

New York leads 1-0

Game 1: Tuesday, December 30th

Rangers 3

(15-13-3, 38 pts)

Kings 2

(16-12-4, 41 pts)

10:30 PM ET, December 30, 2003

STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, California

1 2 3 OT T
NYR 1 0 1 13
LA 2 0 0 02

T. Poti (Rangers - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

J. Stumpel (Kings - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

M. Messier (Rangers - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Poti scores another winner

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Defenseman Tom Poti has scored six goals for the New York Rangers this season, and four of them have been game-winners. Not a bad percentage.

Poti notched his second overtime goal in 24 hours as the Rangers beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 Tuesday night in their only meeting of the season.

"It's not shocking, I'll put it that way," teammate Eric Lindros said. "He's a helluva player. The puck hadn't been going in for him recently, but the last couple of games it did at crucial times."

Rangers captain Mark Messier got the tying goal with 11:13 left in regulation, after being stopped on a first-period breakaway by Cristobal Huet.

Greg de Vries also scored and Jussi Markkanen made 28 saves, helping extend Los Angeles' winless streak to six games (0-2-4) and end the Kings' seven-game home unbeaten streak (4-0-3). Kovalev and Bobby Holik had two assists apiece.

Poti, who beat the Phoenix Coyotes one minute into OT on Monday, scored on a redirection of Alex Kovalev's centering pass from the right boards just 39 seconds into the five-minute period.

"That was definitely a first for me -- two in a row," said Poti, who had 11 goals last season. "Greg said he had done it before, and he told me to go out and do it again. I was just lucky out there. We're trying to establish ourselves by winning all four games on this trip, so this is a good start."

It's the first time the Rangers have won consecutive games since Nov. 23-25, when they beat Ottawa 6-2 at Madison Square Garden and followed that with a 2-0 win at Tampa Bay. The last time they won back-to-back games on the same road trip was last Feb. 23-25, at Minnesota and Anaheim.

Until these two victories, the Rangers had not won a game this season in which they trailed after two periods.

"It's not the kind of position we wanted to be in going into the third period, but we found a way to manufacture two wins in the last two games instead of coming out with nothing," Messier said. "Those are four big points for us. And in the end, I guess that's all that's important."

Martin Straka and Jozef Stumpel scored for the Kings, who have gone to overtime in seven of their last 11 games.

Matthew Barnaby had the puck in the slot and fanned on a wrist shot, but it dribbled off the bottom of Barnaby's stick toward the right of the crease and Messier put his team-high 13th goal between goalie Huet's glove and the post with 11:13 left in regulation to pull the Rangers even.

"We haven't played good enough with the lead," Kings coach Andy Murray said. "The term shouldn't be `protecting' a lead. That's what everybody uses. If you've got the lead, you should win. But we haven't played well enough to do that."

New York opened the scoring at 2:33 of the first, just five seconds after killing off Messier's slashing penalty. Kovalev got the puck from Holik behind the net, carried it toward the left circle and found de Vries cruising down the slot unchecked.

Straka tied it about 1{ minutes later with his ninth goal, beating Markkanen to the stick side with a 20-foot slap shot from the left circle.

The Kings took a 2-1 lead just 57 seconds before intermission while Lindros was off for hooking. Stumpel was credited with his third goal of the season after his intended cross-ice pass to Ziggy Palffy caromed off the blade of Ranger forward Jed Ortmeyer's stick and over Markkanen's glove.

Game notes

Ortmeyer had another dose of misfortune when he hit the post in the opening minute of the second period. ... The NHL has decided not to suspend Rangers D Boris Mironov, who received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for kneeing Phoenix's Ladislav Nagy on Monday night. Mironov served a two-game suspension a couple of weeks ago after a retaliatory cross-check against Buffalo's Adam Mair, which cost him $21,388 in salary. ... Ribcage injuries sidelined Rangers D Darius Kasparaitis for the second straight game and RW Anson Carter for the third game in a row. ... Markkanen has allowed no more than two goals in six of his last seven starts. ... Leetch, who has recorded more goals and assists than any defenseman in Rangers history, has one assist in 10 games since scoring two goals against the Islanders on Dec. 4.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press