The St Louis Blues capitalised on yet another game-ending error by Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick, scoring a last-minute winner and beating the Kings 2-1 today, taking a 2-0 lead in their NHL playoff series.
Defenceman Barret Jackman scored his first career playoff goal with 50.4 seconds remaining, with his innocent-looking wrist shot somehow getting past Quick.
In today's other playoff games, Detroit blew a three-goal lead but escaped with an overtime winner to beat Anaheim and square their series 1-1, while Washington beat the New York Rangers and Ottawa downed Montreal in their respective series openers.
Quick was left to rue another costly mistake, having also made a stickhandling gaffe in the series opener which led to St Louis' overtime victory.
"I've got to stop that. I've got to stop that," said Quick, who was brilliant in the Kings championship run last season. "It's my fault. Two games in a row. I've got to be better."
Jackman, who rarely ventures forward and had just three goals and 12 points in the regular season, joined a rush and scored in transition, beating Quick from just inside the blue line.
Patrik Berglund's deflection had tied the game early in the third period for St. Louis, which was swept by the Kings in the second round last season while getting outscored 15-6.
"We stole one there," said forward David Perron, who assisted on the first goal. "The biggest thing is to come back as soon as we can to Earth and get ready for Game 3."
Dustin Brown scored for the Kings, who'll try to rebound in Game 3 on Sunday (NZ time).
"It's our own fault that we're in this position," LA defenceman Drew Doughty said. "We've been fully prepared for their game, fully prepared for what they're going to do against us, and we just haven't stepped up to the plate."
The Kings led 3-0 in every playoff series last year en route to their Stanley Cup title, and are down 2-0 in a playoff series for the first time since 2002, when they lost in seven games to Colorado.
"It's four games to win a series, so we've just got to focus on the next one," Brown said. "We've got to take care of our home ice. That's it."
Detroit's Gustav Nyquist scored a power-play goal at 1:21 of overtime to enable the Red Wings to escape with a 5-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks and 1-1 series scoreline.
Johan Franzen scored twice and Damien Brunner had his first playoff goal and two assists for the Red Wings, who survived a third-period collapse with a timely goal from Nyquist.
Bobby Ryan scored the tying goal with 2:22 left in regulation for the Ducks, who also got goals from captain Ryan Getzlaf and Kyle Palmieri while erasing Detroit's 4-1 lead with a phenomenal surge in the final minutes.
Game 3 is Sunday (NZ time) at Joe Louis Arena.
Washington's Alex Ovechkin scored his franchise-record 31st career playoff goal to spark the Capitals to a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers in their series opener.
Ovechkin, a two-time MVP who led the NHL with 32 goals this season, crashed the net to score on a power play about seven minutes into the second period to tie the game. Carl Hagelin had put New York ahead 1-0 in the first period.
Marcus Johansson and Jason Chimera scored 46 seconds apart to seal the game for the hosts.
It's the third consecutive season these two teams are facing each other in the playoffs and the fourth time in five years. The Rangers eliminated the Capitals in seven games in the second round last season.
Game 2 is Sunday (NZ time) in Washington.
Ottawa's Craig Anderson made 48 saves in a spectacular goaltending performance, helping the Senators to a 4-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
Jakob Silfverberg and Marc Methot scored early in the third period for the Senators to give the hosts the lead, while Erik Karlsson and Guillaume Latendresse also scored.
Ottawa was outshot 50-31 but saw Anderson easily win the goaltending duel with Carey Price, who was beaten twice through the pads.
Rene Bourque and Brendan Gallagher scored for Montreal, which set a team record for shots in a regulation-time playoff game.
Montreal center Lars Eller was felled in an open-ice hit by Senators defenseman Eric Gryba. He was wheeled off on a stretcher bleeding heavily from the nose and was taken to a hospital with what the team said were head and facial injuries.