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Doughty's Controversial Goal Mercifully Ends Offense-Deprived Hockey Game

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For the 21st time in 23 home games, there was a sold-out crowd of 18,118 fill STAPLES Center to watch the Kings edge the Phoenix Coyotes 1-0 in overtime. Why?

It makes me glad that people around these parts like hockey enough to fill the arena regardless of the quality exhibited on the ice. But the hockey that was played between the Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes had all of the appeal of watching grass grow.

“Both teams that played don’t give much,” head coach Darryl Sutter said. With nothing being given, there really wasn’t much to watch. The most entertaining part of regulation was watching Dustin Penner lead a breakaway. Let the humor of that absorb you for a minute.

The Kings had good scoring chances throughout the game, but Coyotes’ netminder Mike Smith turned away all 27 shots in regulation. But on the first shot in regulation by Drew Doughty 38 seconds into overtime, all of that changed. With bodies all over the crease, Doughty got what Sutter dubbed a “one-inch goal” that actually held up under the scrutiny of video review in Toronto.

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“You guys had a better view of it than we did,” Sutter said.

The Coyotes didn’t have the same sentiment. “It should be no goal,” head coach Dave Tippett 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.”

Doughty was just happy to be off his dry spell that dated back to Nov. 10, a 24-game goalless streak.

“It was huge. Obviously, I haven’t been scoring a lot this year and I finally contributed on the score sheet with a goal for the team and most importantly get the win. I was real happy.”

As bad as the offense has been stinking it up around here lately, the Kings would have been in a Ducks-level shitstorm had it not been for goalie Jonathan Quick. His 22 saves earned him the league-high and career-tying sixth shutout of the season and 20 career shutouts.

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“That’s great and all,” Quick commented. “We got two points tonight, it’s huge and that is what we are really looking at. It doesn’t matter how we do it, as long as we are getting two points and we continue to climb the standings. That’s what we are trying to do here.”

So perhaps the fans really like to see if Quick will keep stonewalling the opposition. Or perhaps they’re dying to see if the game they watch is finally the game the Kings break out of their offensive woes. Granted they’ve had a couple of four-goal performances, but those seem to be small oases in the desert.

While this win keeps them in second place in the Pacific Division, the Kings are seventh overall in the Western Conference at 47 points (20-14-7). An interesting thing of note is that through 41 games last season the Kings also had 47 points (23-17-1). So I suppose that is some perspective.

The Lakers fans might need some perspective themselves as the Rose Garden is still the Garden of Evil losing 107-96 against the Portland Trail Blazers.

In college basketball, BYU edged LMU in Garsten Pavilion 73-65, the mighty Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara upended Cal State Fullerton 77-64 at home, Long Beach State beat Cal Poly 55-50 in the Pyramid, a short-handed Arizona State team beat USC 62-53 at Galen and the UCLA Bruins showed the Honda Center what winning is like with their 65-58 win over Arizona.

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TONIGHT’S ACTION
Golden State Warriors at LA Lakers. 7:30 p.m. FSWest, AM 710 KSPN.
New York Islanders at Anaheim Ducks. 7:00 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 830 KLAA.