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The Powerless Kings Still Winless
The game between the Kings and the Edmonton Oilers was a deep study of the rulebook, ineffective power-plays and patience. At times it was like watching the Lakers playing the Washington Wizards. Unfortunately for the Kings, the results are starting to look Laker-like as they fell to the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 in overtime.
Just about every infraction occured from your normal run-of-the-mill tripping, holding and cross check to the new delay of game - smothering the puck penalty. During regulation 20 penalties were called resulting in eight power-plays for each team. All 17 power-play opportunities resulted in nothing including nearly five minutes of three two-man advantage opportunities between the two teams.
It wasn't until the Kings got caught with too many men on the ice that the Oilers finally took advantage of the power-play. Sam Gagner got the pass in the crease from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and took two swipes at the puck to get it past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.
The Kings had the game in their grasp.
Sloppy puck handling by Nick Schultz at the Kings' blue line resulted in an act of theivery by Kyle Clifford, the points leader for the Kings. Promoted to the second line by head coach Darryl Sutter, Clifford waited for Jeff Carter to cross into the offensive zone avoiding the offsides call. Clifford dished the puck to Carter on the right wing, a magically it seemed the puck got past Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk.
After 33 minutes, the Kings had the 1-0 lead.
Of course the Kings had the 1-0 lead after two periods in Colorado on Tuesday when they couldn't keep up with the young legs of the Avalance who scored three goals in the final 20 minutes.
The Kings had it. They were even aided by the officials with a minute, five seconds left in regulation when they disallowed an apparent tying goal. According to the NHL's Situation Room Blog:
At the General Managers direction (March 13, 2012) a procedural change was requested to ensure that all available information at ice level is exchanged prior to the awarding of a goal. Following the scoring of a goal where there was traffic and action in the area of the crease and goalie interference may come into play all four officials are to come together in the referees crease. Once in the crease the team is to communicate all possible information in determining the validity of the goal. The down low ref is still to make a goal or no goal signal on the play and then meet with his colleagues if there was contact and action involving the goalie to discuss the play.
That became a moot point when with five seconds left Nail Yakupov scored the undisputed tying goal.
That was the difference between two points and one point. Quick saved 37 shots while Dubnyk saved 30.
Of course even though the Kings are winless, they earned their first point of the season leaving the Washington Capitals as the only team in the NHL without a point. Perhaps more alarming is that the Kings are 0-for-19 in the power-play this season. It looks like it wasn't assistant coach Jaime Kompon's fault especially since the Chicago Blackhawks are 6-for-20 since he joined. The only other team to have not scored on the power-play is the Detroit Red Wings.
It doesn't get easier for the Kings. They next go to Phoenix to face the Coyotes on Saturday.
In the meantime the Clippers have been reeling. Of course reeling for them has been a two-game losing streak. But this game against the Phoenix Suns was the second without Chris Paul, and it wasn't pretty. They lost 93-88 and looked nothing like the team that had aspirations of a championship. But it could be worse. They could be the Lakers.