OTTAWA, Ontario — Dave Cameron's debut as an NHL head coach didn't go quite as planned. The defending Stanley Cup champions had a lot to do with that.
Anze Kopitar scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period and the Los Angeles Kings beat Ottawa 5-3 on Thursday night in Cameron's first game as coach of the Senators.
Cameron was promoted from assistant coach Monday when Paul MacLean was fired.
"I thought for the most part we played the way that we wanted," Cameron said. "Hockey systems aren't that much different. We made a couple of changes in our system and I thought they identified it and executed it."
The 56-year-old Cameron waited a long time for this opportunity. Despite the loss, he said he'll cherish the memory of his first game as an NHL head coach.
"It's something I've been chasing a long time, so it was a terrific feeling," Cameron said. "Much the way I thought it would be with the emotions and that, but I feel really, really humble to be able to say now I coach in the NHL."
As much as the Senators would have liked to get Cameron his first win, they at least felt good about their effort.
"Nobody spoke of it, but we took it upon ourselves to understand you want to get him his first 'W,'" Bobby Ryan said. "He hasn't come into an easy situation but he's done beautifully for the last couple days and run some good practices, and I think there's a lot to build on as a unit going forward."
Matt Greene, Justin Williams, Trevor Lewis and Tanner Pearson also scored for the Kings. Jake Muzzin had three assists, and Jonathan Quick made 32 saves.
Ryan, Mark Stone and Jared Cowen scored for the Senators. Craig Anderson stopped 31 shots.
Trailing 2-1, the Senators got off to a solid start in the third period and tied the game, but in less than two minutes the Kings regained a two-goal lead. Ottawa came close to completing the comeback, but fell just short.
With 1:21 remaining, Cowen got a shot through traffic that eluded Quick and cut Ottawa's deficit to 4-3. But the Kings made the most of an empty net when Pearson scored his 11th of the season.
Cowen, who has had his share of struggles this season, looked at this game as a fresh start.
"Always feels good contributing in all parts of the game, especially with a fight, an assist and a goal," Cowen said. "Too bad we didn't come up with a win, but it's nice for me to get that and try to bring that more often."
Stone jumped on David Legwand's rebound and tied it 2-all with a short-handed goal 1:44 into the third. But only 36 seconds later, Kopitar — who hadn't scored in 10 games — was left all alone in front and beat Anderson.
"That was big. They had momentum going their way and we kind of shifted it back into our hands," Muzzin said. "To come back with a goal right away was huge."
Just more than a minute later, with Senators defensemen Chris Phillips and Eric Gryba sprawled on the ice, Lewis put one over Anderson to make it 4-2.
The Kings jumped out to a 2-0 second-period lead before the Senators were able to cut the lead in half on Ryan's goal.
Ryan, playing with a broken finger, dangled the puck past Brayden McNabb and then beat Quick on his backhand. The goal had the 17,284 fans on hand chanting Ryan's name.
"It felt good to get the monkey off my back," said Ryan, scoreless in his previous seven games. "But when it goes for naught it kind of gets forgotten and that's OK with me."
Los Angeles made it 2-0 midway through the period when Williams, who appeared to be looking for a wide-open Marian Gaborik, had his shot go in off Cody Ceci.
Greene opened the scoring at 1:47 of the second when his shot from just inside the blue line made it through traffic. The play was reviewed but it was ruled that the shot deflected into the net in a legal fashion.
The Senators got off to a good start despite the first period remaining scoreless. Ottawa outshot the Kings 14-5 and didn't allow Los Angeles to register its first shot until the halfway mark of the period.
Chris Neil did not play the last two periods. He was sidelined with a lower-body injury.
NOTES: D Marc Methot and D Patrick Wiercioch were healthy scratches, while LW Clarke MacArthur was sidelined with the flu. The Senators were without LW Milan Michalek (upper body). Los Angeles D Jamie McBain, C Andy Andreoff and C Jordan Nolan were healthy scratches.
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