That’s all I can say. Unbelievable. That’s all I want to write about this. This is truly unbelievable. This is, by far, in what’s been a very frustrating season, the most frustrating game of the season.
First of all, they should have won. The fact that Justin Williams’ early power-play goal was disallowed was ridiculous. Look, referees make mistakes, and it’s understandable. That’s why they need to get rid of the rule where, on video review, they will only overturn the call if there is conclusive evidence. Look, anyone with eyes can determine by watching the replay that Justin Williams’ stick was not above the crossbar when he redirected Jack Johnson’s shot. So, there are two options. Either Dean Lombardi was right last year when he pretty much accused Mike Murphy of the NHL war room of being biased against the Kings because he didn’t get the general manager job with the Kings, or they truly could not find 100% conclusive evidence to overturn it. If they had thrown the original call out and just used replay, then there’s no doubt that it would have been called a goal. Even Avalanche fans know they got away with one there. I just don’t even get what the point of video replay is, to be honest. If you’re only going to overturn calls that are way too obvious to not overturn (and this might have even been one of those calls), then I just don’t get it. Just throw out the original call, and make the call that looks right, you shouldn’t need “conclusive evidence” to overturn a call. Just make the call that looks right, it would make the game better and it would help out the refs as well. Or perhaps do what Darryl Sutter suggested after the game. Every puck that goes into the net, unless the whistle goes, is a goal. Then, Toronto can look at it and see if it was or not. Either way you do it, it gets rid of the whole need for conclusive evidence, which is what should happen.
On the other hand, the Kings had plenty of chances to make that disallowed goal not matter. Just 20 seconds into the game, the Kings got a four-minute power-play. Seven seconds into that, Mike Richards took a dumb penalty. There goes half the power-play (the 1:53 that they got of a power-play after the 4-on-4 play ended was when the Williams’ “no-goal” happened). Despite that, the Kings dominated the entire first period, and got another power-play, and the power-play actually looked great in the first period, but they couldn’t score. After dominating the first period, the Kings opened the scoring early in the second period. After their game against the Canucks on Saturday and the way things were going so far in this game, it appeared the Kings were going to cruise to a victory.
Then they couldn’t convert on their chances. Then they started taking their foot off the pedal. Then Kyle Clifford (who has been just dreadful this year) turned it over and Ryan O’Reilly tied the game. You just can’t make a mistake when you play for this team. They don’t score enough to make up for any mistakes. However, Stefan Elliot took a hooking penalty late in the third to give the Kings a chance to win it late. But then Drew Doughty ridiculously embellished it and took a diving penalty, and there goes the power-play. Then they got a late power-play in overtime and a chance to win it with a 4-on-3, but the Kings power-play that we’ve seen for most of this season showed up, and they were heading to a shootout with the Colorado Avalanche.
What did I write in my pre-game report? I’ll tell you what I wrote: “One tip for the Kings tonight would be to avoid a shootout at all costs, as the Avs have won all six of the ones they’ve been in this season.” Sure enough, the Kings were heading to a shootout, and they lost. They deserved to lose, too. If they had kept their strong play up from earlier in the game, they’d probably have scored a few more goals. If they’d have been able to take advantage on that overtime power-play, they’d have won. If Doughty hadn’t dove, maybe the Kings win it late in regulation. Who am I kidding, this is the Kings power-play we’re talking about. You just knew the way the second half of the game went and with the Kings failing on all those chances that the Avalanche were going to win the shootout.
Every time the Kings look like they’re turning it around, they do this. Which explains why they haven’t scored three goals in back-to-back games this year. Oh well… The point they got keeps them undefeated in regulation their last eight games (5-0-3) and under Darryl Sutter (4-0-3), and it also keeps them in first place in the Pacific Division. Who cares that the Sharks are one point back with five games in hand, right? Or that their league-worst offense got even worse, and the next game of the season will mark the halfway point for the Kings and they haven’t recorded three goals in back-to-back games yet? Anyways, the Kings will get a couple of days to think about this one before they once again look to turn things around on Thursday when they host the Phoenix Coyotes.
I kind of feel like I already recapped the game, so I don’t see the point of doing the normal period-by-period breakdown. So I’ll just present the stats:
1st period: The Kings outshot the Avalanche 12-5 in the first period, and went 0-for-3 on the power-play. The Avalanche didn’t have one.
2nd period: LA outshot Colorado 9-7 in the second period. The Kings went 0-for-1 on the power-play, while the Avs didn’t have one. Dustin Brown scored his 10th goal of the season at the 1:34 mark. From the right boards, Mike Richards cycled it around to Anze Kopitar behind the net. Kopitar’s backhand wraparound rebounded out to Brown in front who knocked it by Semyon Varlamov’s five-hole. Kopitar and Richards has the assists, as the new first line continued to impress, especially early on.
3rd period: Colorado outshot Los Angeles 8-7 in the third period, but the Kings held a 28-20 shot-advantage in regulation. The Avalanche went 0-for-1 on the power-play, their only in regulation, while the Kings didn’t have one and finished 0-for-4 in regulation. Ryan O’Reilly’s 10th goal of the season tied it up at the 14:17 mark. Kyle Clifford turned it over to Kyle Quincey at the Kings blue line, who kept it in to O’Reilly, who came in and fired a sharp wrist shot from the right circle through traffic that went off the far post and in past Quick.
Overtime: The Kings outshot the Avalanche 4-1 in regulation and 32-21 on the night. The Kings went 0-for-1 on a power-play that lasted for just 1:35 (because that’s how much time was remaining) and finished 0-for-5 on the night, while the Avs didn’t have one and were 0-for-1 on the night. By the way, maybe Anze Kopitar gets into these huge goal-droughts, oh, I don’t know, because he doesn’t shoot? He had a glorious chance in front of the net with a defenseman on the ground, all he had to do was shoot, but he went to his backhand and lost the puck.
Shootout: Being the home team, the Kings elected when to shoot, and chose to shoot first.
1st round: Jarret Stoll came in and wired a snap shot over the net. He appears to have lost his shootout touch, as he is now just 2-for-6 on the season.
Milan Hejduk came in, slowed up and snuck one through Quick’s five-hole. Probably a shot that Quick, who also may be losing a bit of his shootout magic, should have stopped. Hejduk is now 5-for-7 on the season.
2nd round: Anze Kopitar’s backhand move hit Varlamov’s glove and stayed out. Kopitar also has lost his shootout touch, now a dreadful 1-for-7 on the season.
Ryan O’Reilly tried to sneak one through Quick’s five-hole to win it, but Quick made a nice stick save. O’Reilly is now 2-for-4 on the season.
Dustin Brown needed to score to keep it alive, but his low wrist shot was stopped by Varlamov to seal the extra point for Colorado. Brown is now 2-for-6 on the season. The Kings lost their second straight shootout and fall to 3-4 in the skills competition this season, while the Avalanche (and the Devils, who are 8-1) are kind of like in the shootout this season what the Kings were last season, now 7-0 (the Kings were 10-2 last year).
Well, that was really disappointing, as the Kings suffered another setback, as well as ruined what I guess was “Daryl Evans Night.” The Kings were 3-0-1 in the vintage jerseys this season, but much like the shootout magic has dried up, the vintage jersey magic appears to have dried up as well, as the Kings are 0-1-1 in the vintage uniforms (with a combined two goals scored) and with just one “Legends Night” with the purple and gold unis remaining.
The Kings now just look to get back in the win column, in addition to continue to seeking that elusive solution to their offense. I will say, though, that this team, for the most part, looks much grittier and much more full of life under Sutter. Hopefully, things start to click consistently sooner rather than later, and hopefully that starts in the Kings’ next game, on Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes. Stay tuned for a game preview coming sometime before the puck drops at Staples Center at 10:30 PM ET/7:30 PM PT.