Ryan Smyth scored the tying goal and set up Jarret Stoll's go-ahead goal in the opening minutes of the third period, and the Los Angeles Kings rallied for a 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday night in their home opener.
Smyth added an empty-net goal and Jonathan Quick made 31 saves for the Kings, who began a season of uncommonly high expectations with two scoreless periods before a late flurry led by Smyth, their veteran forward.
After Smyth scored Los Angeles' first goal on a rebound, he passed ahead to Stoll for a shot that knuckleballed off Atlanta defenseman Ron Hainsey's stick and past Chris Mason with 13:50 to play.
Chris Thorburn scored for the Thrashers, who opened the three-game California swing of a four-game road trip.
A few months after the Kings ended an eight-year playoff drought with their young, largely homegrown roster, they returned to Staples Center to play before a raucous sellout crowd including former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash, who played the national anthem. Hollywood hockey seems poised for a big comeback — but only if the Kings' collection of scorers start finding the net.
After scoring just two goals during their two-game season-opening road trip in Western Canada, the Kings again struggled through the first two periods against Mason. The veteran stopped 32 shots in his second start in place of recovering Ondrej Pavelec, who posted his first NHL shutout against Los Angeles last November.
Thorburn scored an impressive unassisted goal in the second period, taking the puck from Brad Richardson and splitting defensemen Davis Drewiske and Jake Muzzin before scoring on his own rebound.
Los Angeles largely controlled play for the rest of the period, but couldn't crack Mason despite handily outshooting Atlanta. The Kings hit at least two posts in the first two periods, and another early in the third.
The Kings have trailed heading into the third period of all three games this season, but they finally broke through with 16:07 left in the third when Justin Williams hacked away at a loose puck in front of the Atlanta net. Smyth sneaked in and flicked a backhand past Mason.
Stoll's shot then collided with Hainsey's stick and fluttered past Mason, thrilling the sellout crowd.
Bryan Little had a prime opportunity for Atlanta on a 2-on-1 break with 5½ minutes to play, but he broke his stick while taking an unblocked shot.
Smyth completed his three-point night with a backhand from mid-ice.
NOTES: Atlanta LW Fredrik Modin finished last season with the Kings, scoring three goals in 20 games after they acquired him in a playoff-stretch trade with Columbus. Los Angeles showed little public interest in keeping the veteran Swede, who signed with the Thrashers last month. ... D Willie Mitchell also got an assist on Stoll's goal for his first point with Los Angeles. ... Veteran Kings play-by-play announcer Bob Miller celebrated his 72nd birthday.