Kings Snooze, Lose, 5-2 : Hockey: They give up three goals in a span of two minutes during third period at Philadelphia.
Their coach, Larry Robinson, had about an hour of sleep the previous night after his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, but the King players were the ones who appeared to be dozing down low in front and behind their own net.
The Philadelphia Flyers established complete control of that area in the latter half of the game and used three third-period goals to defeat the Kings, 5-2, on Tuesday night at the Spectrum before a sellout crowd of 17,380.
Philadelphia (13-6-4) broke a 2-2 tie with three goals in a span of two minutes, converting on three consecutive shots after a goal by center Craig MacTavish was disallowed at 1:18 of the third period. Referee Paul Stewart waved it off after video replays showed that King defenseman Steve Finn knocked the net off its moorings and gave him a delay-of-game penalty.
This time, King goaltender Byron Dafoe couldn’t bail out his teammates on yet another 40-shot night. The Kings were outshot, 40-27, the seventh time this season they have allowed 40 or more shots.
The Kings (10-6-5) squandered a strong first-period effort when goals by right wing and former Flyer Rick Tocchet (10th goal of the season) and center Yanic Perreault (ninth) had made it 2-0 by the 16:33 mark. But Robinson said the game started to turn when the Flyers, who have won four consecutive games, responded with a late goal by center Rob DiMaio, at 17:06, off a defensive breakdown.
“After that we didn’t generate,” Robinson said. “We gave up way too many odd-man rushes. The Flyers are too good a team to have turnovers at the blue line. . . . You could probably count the number of body checks on your two hands.’ You don’t have to be big to get in the way.”
“We swung away from a lot of our checks. We didn’t finish them.”
Said MacTavish: “They were taking it to us in the first period. Any time you go down 2-0 in your own building it can be demoralizing. When we got that first goal at the end of the first period, we could tell the momentum was turning.
“Good teams beat good goaltenders. Dafoe played well, we just kept throwing rubber at him.”
Wayne Gretzky was suffering from flu, but that wasn’t the reason the Kings fell short. They came up empty on four power plays, gave up two power-play goals, and Flyer center Eric Lindros added two assists. Lindros also had a spirited third-period scrap with King defenseman Marty McSorley.
“We didn’t play three full periods,” Gretzky said. “Really, it was one solid period. It was the first time we had such a letdown in a two-period span.”
The Flyers’ repeated charges to the net finally paid off in the third period when King defenseman Denis Tsygurov was sent off for high sticking Lindros at 2:43, giving Philadelphia a two-man advantage for 35 seconds. The Kings killed off the five-on-three, but the Flyers then scored with the one-man advantage, at 3:58.
Right wing John LeClair, the Flyers’ leading scorer, fooled King defenseman Darryl Sydor with a bit of misdirection behind the net. LeClair, heading toward the left post, cut to the right and banked the shot in off Dafoe’s right leg for his 13th goal of the season to make it 3-2. “They took the game over--a lot of defensive breakdowns and way too many chances in front of our net and in the corners,” Tocchet said. “We’ve got to get stronger in that area.
“They owned the front of our net. And behind the net. Byron Dafoe can only do so much. I know I’m sick and tired of Byron [having to do it] every night. It’s only so long the kid can stand on his head. It’s not fair to him.”
Center Robert Lang might not be contributing much offensively, but the Kings will be losing some much-needed depth at the position since he will be out for at least two weeks because of a strained lower back. Apparently the injury, a result of wear and tear, required an epidural treatment for the inflammation. Lang will be re-evaluated later this week by Dr. Robert Watkins. Also suffering from a stiff back is forward Tony Granato, who was scratched against the Flyers. But he is expected to play tonight. The other healthy scratches were forward Troy Crowder and defenseman Rob Cowie.