Kings Pay Stiff Penalty as Stars Win on Hull’s Goal

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Andy Murray paced under the stands of Reunion Arena, and not because he was below .500 as an NHL coach for the first time.

“A lot of people thought I would have been last year,” the King coach said Saturday night.

And not because of Brett Hull’s power-play goal, deflected through the legs of King goalie Jamie Storr to give the Dallas Stars a 4-3 victory before the usual 17,001.

The shot commanded several video looks before it was counted.

“I would think they reviewed it and his stick wasn’t above the net,” Murray said.

Not even because of the Kings’ penalty killing, which gave up three goals in six Dallas power-play opportunities.


“Our penalty killers didn’t do the job tonight,” he said.

It was because of the final penalty, on Steve Reinprecht, that set up the game-winning goal.

“They said he held,” Murray said. “We just looked at it again [on videotape]. The other guy [Dallas’ Brendan Morrow] grabbed his stick.”

No matter, because Hull’s goal--scored when he stuck his stick up, then brought it down and deflected Sergei Zubov’s shot past Storr at 14:14 of the final period--finished off a King trip in which they earned one of six available points. That came on a 1-1 tie at Nashville.

It kept a four-game winless (0-3-1) streak alive, and it put them at 3-4-2, below .500 for the first time in Murray’s two seasons.

It looked as though Saturday would offer relief when Reinprecht and Ziggy Palffy scored in the first 5:08, but then the penalties started coming. The Kings have faced a league-leading 56 power plays and given up a league-leading 14 man-advantage goals.

“We just get too many penalties,” said Luc Robitaille. “It’s not the penalty killing, we’re just getting too many penalties, and they’re not retaliation penalties, either.”


Mathieu Schneider took a hooking penalty, followed only 25 seconds later by a boarding call against Jere Karalahti that put the Kings at a 5-on-3 disadvantage.

That lasted only the 31 seconds it took Hull to blast away from a screen and cut the margin to 2-1.

Dallas remained at 5 on 4 and took a bit longer before Zubov’s scorcher from the blue line tied it, 2-2.

Nelson Emerson untied it in the second period, spreading the three King goals over three different lines, all newly constituted since Thursday’s debacle at St. Louis.

But it was matched by Dallas’ Mike Modano and the game went into the final period tied, 3-3.

That set up Hull’s heroics, which required some time before it counted.

“I guess the refs told [Dallas captain Derian] Hatcher it was good, but they had to check,” said Hull, who immediately skated to the bench to wait out reaffirmation of the verdict, somewhat nervously.


There was no surprise when referee Dennis LaRue signaled it was good.

Also no protest.

“He’s got 600-some [actually 616] goals,” said Storr. “They call Luc [Robitaille] Lucky, but [Hull] is too. It’s the way it goes some times. When it’s going good, that hits my pad. When it’s going bad, you have perfect position and it goes ‘five-hole’ [between his legs].”

Storr was playing after sitting for two games. “I thought he was pretty solid tonight,” Murray said.

The goal came after some misplays in the Kings’ end.

“We had three chances to get the puck out [on the game-winner by Hull],” Murray said.

Instead, Storr had to pick the puck out of the net and the Kings limped home.

“We’ve had a tough grind so far,” said Murray of the nine games in 16 days to start the season, six of them on the road.

It won’t get much easier. The Kings are on the road for 12 of their first 16 games over 31 days.

“Our goal is to have our heads above water after that stretch,” Murray said, defining that as being somewhere on the conference’s top-eight playoff ladder.

It’s life preserver time, for they are below sea level. And sinking like a stone.