Kings defeat Coyotes, 1-0, in overtime
Clearly, new Kings Coach Darryl Sutter was being wildly optimistic the day he was hired when he said the NHL has become a 3-2 league.
Yes, there are places and buildings where multiple goals are actually scored, but Staples Center was not one of them on Thursday night.
And no one cared — not a bit — not after the Kings defeated the Coyotes, 1-0, when defenseman Drew Doughty scored 38 seconds into overtime and goalie Jonathan Quick recorded his league-leading sixth shutout, making 22 saves.
It was Doughty’s first goal in 25 games, a stretch going back to Nov. 10. On top of it, he had to wait a little longer before official confirmation as the play was reviewed in Toronto.
The NHL explained its decision on its website, saying: "…Video review upheld the referee’s call on the ice that the goal posts were completely on the pegs when the puck crossed the goal line and the puck went into the net in a legal fashion.”
So the Kings were able to celebrate twice. Once, when Doughty first scored, driving hard to the net, and then again when it was ruled a good goal, after a short but tough wait for the review. Sutter wasn’t quite sure he could see the goal the first time, either.
“We’re kind of sick of going to OT and giving other teams points,” said Doughty in his postgame TV interview, adding that it wasn’t their best game.
Thirty-eight seconds in overtime was enough to get it done.
The Kings have not lost in regulation during the Sutter Era, going 5-0-3 since he took over a little more than two weeks ago. They may have problems scoring but have allowed 11 goals in those eight games.
What unfolded against the Coyotes was not entirely surprising. It can happen when an offensively challenged team (the Kings) runs into a team (the Coyotes) operated by a coach with a super-sound defensive system, Dave Tippett.
Tippett disagreed with the ruling from Toronto.
“It should be no goal,” he said. “It’s not a matter of fact that the puck went in the net. The puck did go in the net, but it should be goalie interference....It’s a blown call that should be no goal.”
Phoenix was forced to play with five defensemen for the final two periods after losing veteran Adrian Aucoin late in the first. Aucoin, who does not wear a visor, took a puck in the area of his eye from a shot from the Kings’ Mike Richards at close range.
Coyotes officials would only call it an “upper-body injury” and Aucoin did not return to the game.
The Kings stirred to life in the third period and finally were able to sustain offensive attacks. Dustin Penner hit the post with less than six minutes remaining in regulation and Dustin Brown broke in alone with another stellar opportunity less than a minute later.
That was far from their final chance in regulation. The Richards-Anze Kopitar-Brown line attacked with speed and Kopitar tested Coyote goalie Mike Smith with a shot from the right circle with less than a minute remaining.
The Kings recently ended a stretch in which they scored two regulation goals or fewer in 14 consecutive games. In fact, that streak came to a halt against the Coyotes on Dec. 26 when the Kings scored four goals.
Defenseman Slava Voynov missed his second game because of an upper-body injury but was able get in some work after the morning skate. Sutter said if there is no discomfort or any setbacks, the next step for Voynov would be a practice with contact.
Sutter managed to get off a good line about Voynov, saying: “He’s wearing new skates so his feet hurt. So it’s a lower-body injury.”
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