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Controversy Mires Kings 3-1 Loss To Canucks

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To say this game had a playoff atmosphere is a huge understatement. Emotions, hits and even the crowd were running high with the NHL-leading Vancouver Canucks in town for a normally staid matinee game.

A controversial Daniel Sedin goal 11:36 in the third period helped give the Canucks the 3-1 victory and irked head coach Terry Murray.

“That’s a goddamned shame that goal was allowed,” Murray said with his blood pressure rising. “The guy’s in the crease, [goalie Jonathan] Quick can’t move his stick and [Drew] Doughty is pushed off over top of our goaltender.

“It’s a goddamned shame. It should not be allowed. That’s a penalty.”

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And so ended Murray’s shortest post-game press conference with the Kings.

But that wasn’t the only controversy in the game. Late in the second period, Kings forward Alexei Ponikarovsky drove Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis into the boards head-first behind the Kings net. Ponikarovsky received only a two-minute boarding penalty rather than a game misconduct presumably because Hamhuis was able to skate away unharmed.

Then there was the scary moment in the second period when Rob Scuderi’s shot from the right point was blocked by Tanner Glass’ throat. He skated off and was checked out by the Canucks medical staff who gave him the green light to re-enter the game.

So many hits, so many controversies with the building alive before the puck even dropped. The Canuck fans boisterously sang “O, Canada” helped spur the Kings fans to react with their own (not-as-) loud singing of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

The players didn’t disappoint the fans with their physicality right off the bat with a scrum behind the Kings net ten seconds into the game. Even the glass along the boards weren’t prepared as there was a delay 1:43 into the game to repair the glass. Eight penalties in the first period with four of them being roughing.

“It was a different game, a lot of penalties,” Kings captain Dustin Brown said. “It was hard fought, but we’ve got to be a lot better and we’ve got to find a way to find a goal.”

And the Kings couldn’t get the puck to the net as they were outshot by Vancouver 36-22. They managed only six shots-on-goal in six power-play chances and recorded no shots for the one minute they had the 5-on-3 advantage.

“We have to be better,” Penner said. “I have to be better.”

Having said that, it was Penner who gave the Kings their lone score (and his first goal for the Kings) 5:28 in the first period.

“I was trying to hit [Justin Williams] back door,” Penner said about his strange goal. “I don’t whose stick it went off, but it went off their d-man’s stick in the short-side.”

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Off of a Rob Scuderi turnover behind the Kings net, Jannik Hansen tied the game up at 9:16, and Alexandre Burrows cemented the win for the Canucks with an empty-netter with 37 seconds remaining.

“At the end of the day it’s about a result,” Brown said. “They’re a good team - they’ve been the best team all year. A couple too many mistakes and they win the game.”

Even with the disheartening loss, the Kings did manage to kill all six penalties against the second-ranked power-play team.

“They worked so hard for us to give us an opportunity to win,” Penner noted.