The matchup between the Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers was sexy on paper. It featured the defending Stanley Cup Champions, still looking for their first win of the young season. Those champs were matched up against a team filled with youthful exuberance in the Oilers, still looking for growth, maturity, and success. What followed was 57 minutes of penalty-filled and exhibition-like play, a lengthy controversial no-goal, a theatrical game-tying goal, and a dramatic overtime finish.
As alluded to in the introduction, the first 57 minutes of this matchup ranged from ugly to…well, more ugly. Both teams got a lengthy introduction to the new rulebook, though it was clear that the Oilers needed it more. In the first period, Edmonton’s Ladislav Smid was called for penalties such as “Delaying Game – Smothering Puck” and “Instigator – Face Shield” to go along with his 23 penalty minutes in the first period alone. By the end of the first, the Kings were 0 for 5 on the powerplay including a full two minutes of 5 on 3 time. Meanwhile, the Oilers were 0 for 3 with 1:48 of 5 on 3 time.
Smid with 23 minutes in penalties in the first 10 minutes.4 minors, fighting major, misconduct.
— james duthie (@tsnjamesduthie) January 25, 2013
The second period was just as sloppy for both teams as they continued taking a revolving door into the penalty box. With Justin Williams already in the box, the Kings were called for a too many men penalty to give the Oilers a 5 on 3 advantage. On the ensuing faceoff, the Oilers were given a two minute minor for a “Face-off violation” after committing two straight faceoff infractions. In a rare moment of even strength hockey, the Kings finally took the lead as Jeff Carter flipped a backhander past goalie Devan Dubnyk for his first goal of the season. The Oilers took two more penalties in the 2nd period to give Los Angeles another lengthy 5 on 3 chance, but the Kings powerplay remained dormant.
The teams skated back and forth through a couple more penalty kills in the third period before chaos filled the last three minutes of regulation. With 2:50 left in the game, Jeff Carter was sent to the box for tripping Jordan Eberle. On the powerplay and with 1:05 left in the game, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins fired a loose puck into a virtually empty net as Jonathan Quick was tied up with Sam Gagner. The officials on the ice called it a goal originally and Quick argued fervently as the referees decided to review it.
The goal was eventually waived off due to a “player in the crease.” It was certainly an interesting call as Gagner was not in the crease, and was also pushed into Quick by Kings’ defenseman Rob Scuderi. As Oilers fans showered the ice with assorted drinks and trash, the Oilers geared up for one more chance to tie the game.
With 4.7 seconds left, Nail Yakupov pulled off the dramatic feat by batting a puck out of mid-air to tie the game at 1. He proceeded to go on a lengthy and enthusiastic celebration slide down most of the rink to the joy of the home fans. The road team didn’t take it so well though.
Stoll on Yakupov “It wasn’t something that was looked in a positive light in our dressing room but so be it he made a good play on the goal”
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) January 25, 2013
In overtime, the Kings took their second too many men penalty of the game and it cost them dearly. Sam Gagner scored the winner as he knocked in a puck that slid off of Quick’s right pad.
The Kings went from a close 1-0 lead, to a tie game, to a close 1-0 lead thanks to a disallowed goal, to a shocking tie game with less than 5 seconds left, to a heart-breaking 2-1 overtime loss.
Both teams finished 0 for 8 on the powerplay in regulation, but the Oilers were 1 for 1 in overtime and that was the final dagger for the Kings.
Jonathan Quick finished the game with 37 saves on 39 shots, including 19 saves on the penalty kill. The Kings moved to 0-2-1 to gain their first point of the season and will look for their first win on Saturday at Phoenix. They will also be looking for their first powerplay goal of the season as well.