Count this as one of the bizarre finishes at Staples Center.
A late goal by Dustin Brown apparently tied it for the Kings. The officials reviewed it to make sure it did. Then the NHL Situation Room stepped in and said that Brown committed interference on Edmonton goalie Cam Talbot when he “pushed Talbot’s pad and the puck across the goal line,” according to a release.
As the buzzer sounded and the anger boiled over, the Kings stared at a 4-3 loss in their final game before the trade deadline Monday.
Here’s what we learned:
There is groundswell for the NHL to address goalie interference calls. This season has seen an inordinate amount of teams frustrated with the reviews and, more important, confused about what is and what is not goalie interference.
Prior to Saturday, Edmonton had been on the losing side of numerous consecutive goalie interference calls and Talbot recently vented about it. The Kings were on the losing end of some interference calls earlier this season, and coach John Stevens is on his last nerve with it.
“I’ve tried to find criteria to figure out what it is and what it isn’t,” Stevens said. “I’m more confused now than when I started.”
It will take time for Jeff Carter to get readjusted. Carter was activated for his first game in four months and showed the adrenaline off the bat with a scoring chance and hit on Mark Letestu in one sequence. Carter also won 11 of 16 faceoffs and played 17 minutes, 36 seconds.
His return allowed the Kings to move Alex Iafallo, Adrian Kempe and Michael Amadio to the third line, while Tobias Rieder took Iafallo’s spot at top line left wing. Carter also slotted back into the first power play unit.
But he also showed rust by not seeing a pass from Drew Doughty for an icing call on a Kings’ two-man advantage. Carter is in such good shape it won’t take long to get back up to NHL pace, but the timing isn’t there yet.
“I thought he skated pretty well,” Stevens said. “His execution is going to get better over time, but for being off that amount of time, I thought he did well.”
It might be time to mix in a new defenseman. Derek Forbort and Christian Folin had one of their more forgettable games. Forbort was stripped of the puck behind the net in the first period and committed a turnover trying to break out in the third. Folin looked foolish trying to defend Jujhar Khaira on Khaira’s goal.
Speaking generally about turnovers, Stevens said, “I didn’t think we moved the puck very well. I didn’t’ think we played very fast with the puck. I think it obviously cost us zone time … it’s an area we’ve been better at. I thought as the trip went on there — in Winnipeg it’s something we did very well — but we did not do very well tonight.”
Considering the condensed schedule — the Kings play back-to-back against the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday and Tuesday — it might be time to take a look at Paul LaDue or Kevin Gravel.