Not Even Some My-Sticking Helps Kings
At least give the Kings points for inventiveness.
When it comes to sticks, they have tried throwing one. And swinging one.
And Saturday night, a new tactic: stealing one.
You have heard of high-sticking.
This was more like highway robbery.
Defenseman Brian Benning not only took the stick right out of the hands of the New Jersey Devils’ Peter Stastny after losing his own, but goaded the furious Stastny into a four-minute minor.
But in the end it didn’t matter as the Kings lost their second consecutive game, 4-1 before a sellout Forum crowd of 16,005.
The standout for New Jersey was backup goalie Craig Billington, who saved 33 shots in improving his record to 4-0.
Benning wrestled the stick away from Stastny during the third period. When his shift was over, Benning skated to his bench with Stastny in hot pursuit.
Reaching in to retrieve his stick, the red-faced Stastny received a two-minute roughing penalty for throwing a punch at Benning, then a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when he continued to protest from the penalty box.
“They took my stick, I took theirs,” said Benning, insisting that a Devil had knocked his stick out of his hands.
"(Stastny) was following me around, hollering, but I had to get the puck out of our zone.”
That, to no surprise, is not exactly the way Stastny saw it.
“I end up with two minutes for trying to get my own stick?” he said. “You don’t expect this, that someone would want my stick. What is this?”
According to Stastny, Benning finally threw the stick under the stands. New Jersey trainer Ted Schuch retrieved it.
But for the Kings, the whole incident went for naught. They got only one shot on the double minor in two minutes and 44 seconds before a Tony Granato penalty ended the advantage.
Already leading by 2-1, the Devils put the game away with goals by Alexei Kasatonov (fourth) and Pat Conacher (third).
The Kings were zero for nine on power plays against the league’s best penalty killers as they dropped to 11-9-6.
New Jersey improved to 14-10-1.
Randy McKay opened the scoring by getting his third goal 4:51 into the game. Luc Robitaille countered before the period was over with his team-leading 15th goal.
Claude Lemieux’ 18th goal put the Devils ahead during the second period.
If he receives the green light after his examination Monday, defenseman Larry Robinson could be back in the lineup Tuesday. Robinson has sat out two games after suffering eye damage when he was cut by the stick of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Glenn Anderson Tuesday. Robinson needed three stitches to close a cut over the left eye. He also suffered a ruptured blood vessel in the eye area, but had no vision problems.
Fellow defenseman Marty McSorley is recovering after having an abscess removed from the tonsil area. But because he had to be fed intravenously while being treated in the hospital, McSorley will require about a week to regain his strength before he’ll be ready to play. . . . A body check from the Calgary Flames’ Ronnie Stern last Thursday knocked King defenseman Rob Blake out for two weeks because of a strained knee ligament. Blake also suffered a shoulder injury on the play, the same shoulder that was injured earlier in the season, costing him 11 games. This time, however, the shoulder is not expected to cost Blake any playing time. He will wear a brace if necessary and return as soon as the knee is healed.
Defenseman Rene Chapdelaine has been sent to the Kings’ Phoenix Roadrunner farm club. . . . The Kings For Kids Christmas toy drive will be held at the team’s next two league home games, Dec. 12 and 14. Fans are encouraged to bring unwrapped toys, to be distributed to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.