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Kings Sink Sharks in a Shootout (AKA There's Something About the STAPLES Center)
With the Western Conference standings tighter than a stuffed sausage, it’s inadvisable to give away a point especially to a team six points ahead of you in the standings. The Kings did just that as they let a 3-2 lead slip away in the final five seconds of regulation against the San Jose Sharks on Patrick Marleau’s goal, however they managed to win the game in a shootout 4-3 despite some controversy.
“I’m not disappointed, and I’m not surprised that stuff like that happens,” head coach Terry Murray said. “We would love to have shut it down when you have a faceoff at the offensive blue line offside dot with 11 seconds left. You would like to feel that you could do that every time, but things do happen.”
But the players weren’t quite so stoic.
“We need to tighten up,” Dustin Brown said. “There’s no way we can give up that goal with 14 seconds left. Those are the type of plays that’ll come back to haunt you.”
Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick agreed.
“That’s the one disappointing thing about this game,” he said. “That’s something we want to do: we want to win this division. We know we’re capable of doing it, and it’s unfortunate that they got a point out of it. But the good thing is we go two out of it.”
The controversy came in the first round of the shootout when Dan Boyle scored a goal after Quick seemingly touched the puck.
“My view of it was that Quick’s stick hit Boyle’s stick,” Murray explained. “I don’t know if it touched the puck or not. My argument was that it did touch the puck. If it did, it’s a double hit and an illegal goal.”
Quick had no idea if he touched the puck.
“It’s something different, that’s for sure,” Quick said. “It could have been a good goal, I don’t really know.”
After a discussion between Murray and the referees, the goal was not reviewed and allowed to stand.
But that didn’t matter since Dustin Brown scored the winner in the fourth round.
“It’s nice to score some goals for this team,” Brown said. “[Niemi] was pretty deep in his net on Kopitar’s attempt, so coming down I was just thinking of shooting. So I picked my spot and hit it.”
That added to his two power-play goals he scored: the first to tie the game 1-1 7:18 in the second period and the other with 1:42 left in the third period to give the Kings the 3-2 lead they couldn’t hold.
“One was ugly but that’s the spark we needed on the power-play,” Brown said.
Murray was happy to see the power-play start to come together.
“We had a shot mentality in the early part of the game that was like it was the last game which was tremendous,” Murray said. “And that’s where you just have to stay with that. You get people in front of the net like Brownie, you’re going to get results at the end of the day.”
The success in the power-play helped sweep under the carpet the fact the Sharks broke the Kings streak of 35 consecutive penalty-kills when Joe Pavelsky redirected Patrick Marleau’s shot 35 seconds in the second period to give the Sharks the initial 1-0 lead.
Also helping overshadow this is the fact that after Brown’s goal tied the game, the Kings didn’t let up. In fact they pounced on the Sharks just a minute, 49 seconds later when Willie Mitchell got a rebound in the slot off of Oscar Moller’s shot in the crease and just blew it past Sharks’ goalie Antti Niemi. Moller, called up from Manchester to replace the injured Justin Williams, impressed Murray.
“He was really good tonight,” Murray said. “I thought for the first game in a long time here he was really good: composure with the puck, made plays, strong with the puck, used some speed and on the power-play he had great composure to move it around and generating opportunities.”
The shootout win improves Quick’s record to 9-0 this season. Also the sellout STAPLES Center crowd of 18,118 is the 31st for the Kings this season breaking the previous record at STAPLES Center in the 2003-’04 season. And although I can’t go back to check, this is probably the first time on consecutive days that the STAPLES Center has hosted a triple overtime game (Lakers vs. Suns), a double overtime game (Wizards vs. Clippers) and a shootout game.
Nashville Predators defeat Anaheim Ducks 5-4.
LA Clippers at LA Lakers. 7:30 p.m. FS Prime Ticket (Clippers TV), FSWest (Lakers TV), AM 980 KFWB (Clippers Radio), AM 710 KSPN (Lakers Radio)