Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper reacts after Kings winger Tanner Pearson’s overtime goal at Staples Center on Jan. 7. (Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

For the second time in three games, Tanner Pearson lifted the Kings to an overtime win.

This time it was a 4-3 victory over the Wild at Staples Center on Saturday afternoon, as Pearson redirected a pass from Alec Martinez with 3 minutes and 42 seconds gone by in the extra period.

Searching for any kind of offensive groove, the Kings caught a pregame break when Wild Coach Bruce Boudreau started backup goalie Darcy Kuemper over Devan Dubnyk. Kuemper was 2-1-1 at Staples Center coming into the game, but Dubnyk leads the NHL in goals against average (1.82),

The Kings slumped into an early hole for the second time in as many games. The Wild netted two first-period goals on five shots, and each nicked goalie Peter Budaj before trickling into the net. The first came when Mikko Koivu took a Jake Muzzin turnover and beat Budaj with a wrist shot, and the second on a falling-down shot by Charlie Coyle in front of the net.

It was just two days ago that the Kings gave up three first-period goals in an eventual 4-0 loss to the Red Wings. After that game, defenseman Drew Doughty said it was hard to get the bench up after the early goals. Except this time one of the Western Conference’s best teams was on the other end, quite possibly giving the Kings an even steeper uphill climb.

The Kings made quick work of the deficit regardless.

Kings Coach Darryl Sutter shook up two of his lines, putting Trevor Lewis with Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik, and sliding Dustin Brown next to Nic Dowd and Kyle Clifford. But it was Carter snapping the Kings’ four-period scoreless streak when he glided down the right side of the ice and beat Kuemper with a wrist shot. That was his 22nd second goal of the season, and the fourth straight goal he had been involved.

Carter then made it five straight by assisting on Marian Gaborik’s second goal of the season nearly four minutes later. Gaborik’s backhand shot hit Kuemper’s stick, bounced off Wild defenseman Ryan Suter’s helmet and into the net.

The Kings then went onto the power play seven seconds into the third period, and Muzzin buried a shot from the left wing to nudge his team ahead. The goal was set up by smooth passing from Doughty and Carter (involving Carter on six straight goals) and gave the Kings a 3-2 lead at 19:06.

The score froze there until the final minute. With Kuemper pulled and Doughty in the penalty box — giving the Wild a six-on-four advantage — Zach Parise knocked in a goal with 42.1 seconds on the clock.

That only set the stage for another overtime winner from Pearson, punctuating a day that was once quickly escaping.

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