Tomorrow’s game story tonight …
Jeff Carter’s game-winning goal 4 minutes, 8 seconds into overtime seemed fitting. In a back-and-forth game with plenty of unusual bounces and head-scratching decisions, he was simply the right man in the right spot at the right time for the Kings.
Mike Richards’ shot from a sharp angle on left wing struck Carter in the chest and ricocheted into the Dallas Stars’ net to give the Kings a 4-3 victory Sunday night at Staples Center. The Kings clinched no worse than sixth place in the Western Conference with the win.
“My feeling about this team is when the games become more meaningful, we become a better team,” said Kings team captain Dustin Brown, who scored two goals. “That’s a positive and a negative because there are games that maybe we feel don’t mean as much, but they do.
“We like to dig a hole and then climb out of it. This year, maybe not as much.”
The Kings built what sure looked like a commanding two-goal lead over the Stars by the early minutes of the second period, but squandered it. The Kings then fell behind the Stars 3-2 in the opening seconds of the third period, but Brown rallied them with a power-play goal moments later.
“I felt we handled adversity really well,” Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick said. “I felt it was the reason why we won. A couple of bad bounces, a couple of calls that maybe should have gone the other way, (but) we kept working.”
The Kings appeared to be skating toward a routine victory when they extended their lead over the Stars to 2-0 on Brown’s first goal, 4:12 into the second period. Things were never the same after that, however, with the Stars countering with Loui Eriksson’s goal 20 seconds later.
The Stars then tied it late in the period on Antoine Roussel’s goal.
Or did they?
The Kings believed the play should have been whistled dead after Dallas’ Ryan Garbutt knocked Alex Goligoski’s shot from near the right point down with what appeared to be a high stick. The referees and linesmen conferred for a while before ruling the goal was good.
Roussel’s play on the puck, sweeping it past Jonathan Quick is reviewable under the rules. But there was no reason for it to be checked by the video replay crew in Toronto. Garbutt’s play, deflecting the puck with a high stick in the slot, is not a reviewable play, however.
“It’s a high stick,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “The three guys in the back should call it. That’s not a disallowed goal. The goal is the right call, but the high stick before that is not the right one. You want those guys to make that call. … We thought we deserved better.”
The Kings thought they had scored the go-ahead goal when Trevor Lewis knocked the puck behind Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen only 10 seconds into the third. The goal was washed out by either a quick whistle or because Lewis jostled Stars defenseman Aaron Rome, who knocked over Lehtonen.
Neither Brown nor Sutter received an explanation.
With the Kings still fuming about the call, Goligoski put the Stars ahead 33 seconds later.
Brown answered at 2:59, tying the score at 3.