King goalie Glenn Healy had a nasty gash over his right eye, held together by 12 stitches, but he said he could still see straight, and that was all that mattered when he went back on the ice in the third period Tuesday night.
The shot by Tony Tanti that had put him out in the first period hit the mesh of his protective mask so hard that it broke the metal.
While Bob Janecyk filled in for him, Healy got stitched up, held ice on his eye during the second period to keep it from swelling shut, and then came back to help the Kings to their fifth straight victory, a 6-4 win over the Vancouver Canucks at the Forum.
“It’ll probably be swollen shut tomorrow,” Healy said with a shrug.
There won’t be any pucks coming at him then.
But when he reappeared Tuesday, the game was still very much on the line. In fact, it was tied, and it was tied again when, with 3 minutes 1 second to play, Bob Carpenter stole the puck from Vancouver defenseman Harold Snepsts and skated through the left face-off circle, then slapped the winning shot past Vancouver goalie Kirk McLean.
Bernie Nicholls added an empty-net goal with 35 seconds left for the final score.
There were just 11,250 fans in attendance, the smallest crowd of the season, for a game against a Smythe Division opponent that the Kings will play seven more times this season.
The Kings raised their record to 12-6, and Vancouver dropped to 7-10-3 with its fifth consecutive loss.
“What really hurt us were the penalties at the end of the first period and the end of the second period,” Vancouver Coach Bob McCammon said. “We came out at the start of the period back on our heels.”
The Kings came to life at the same time that Healy stepped back in the net, getting 2 quick goals from Wayne Gretzky.
Just 28 seconds into the third period, Gretzky put the Kings ahead, 3-2, taking a pass from defenseman Doug Crossman and slapping it past McLean.
Gretzky added a power-play goal--the Kings’ first in 3 games--just over 2 minutes later, putting in the rebound of a shot by Nicholls to make it 4-2.
But Healy gave up 2 goals as the Canucks came back.
In the final tally, Healy played 30 minutes 5 seconds, faced 21 shots and gave up 2 goals as he recorded the victory.
Healy gave up his first goal at 5:16 of the third period. He had gone to his knees to make a stop when Tanti put the puck in behind him with just 33 seconds left on a penalty on the Kings’ Tom Laidlaw. Healy gave up another goal to Dan Hodgson at 15:38.
But Carpenter’s goal at 16:59 put the Kings back up again, and this time they preserved the lead.
Carpenter said: “I just wanted to make sure I hit the net. It was a good game for us to win.
“We got a little frustrated. Vancouver’s a hard-checking team. But the confidence level on our team has been great since the beginning of the year.”
The Kings haven’t won 5 straight games since November-December, 1986.
The Canucks’ other 2 goals were given up by Janecyk, who had been called up from the New Haven affiliate a week ago. (Goalie Rollie Melanson has been sent to New Haven for conditioning.)
Janecyk had been called up twice before this season, but twice before he had been sent back down without playing. Tuesday night, he played 29.55 minutes and faced 22 shots.
Healy said: “Janny did a good job of holding them while I was out. I felt a little dizzy at first, so I needed some time. He stoned ‘em. And then the team came back strong.”
King Coach Robbie Ftorek said that he had no qualms about using Janecyk until Healy’s dizziness and nausea had subsided and he felt ready to play.
“Janny was able to hold ‘em until Heals had himself settled down and the swelling down,” Ftorek said.
The Kings had a 1-0 lead when Healy went out. Ron Duguay had scored at 5:23 of the first period on a shot from straight in front of the net while McLean was well out of the crease.
Vancouver tied it on a power-play goal by center Greg Adams at 14:12 on a shot from the right point into the back of the net.
In the second period, John Tonelli deflected in a shot that Marty McSorley had slapped from the right side just past the blue line to put the Kings up again, 2-1, at 2:13. But Vancouver left winger Steve Bozek tied it again, 2-2, halfway through the period when he lifted a shot over Janecyk’s outstretched left glove.
The Kings have 2 games left on this home stand, Thursday night against the New York Rangers and Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres. . . . The Kings extended their consecutive-game scoring streak to 189. . . . Wayne Gretzky extended his scoring streak to 18 games, tying Marcel Dionne for the third-longest streak in King history. . . . The Kings are the highest-scoring team in the league. . . . Tim Watters did not play because of a sprained knee suffered in Saturday night’s game against Pittsburgh.