In a game that could only be decided with an overtime period, the Dallas Stars lost 4-3 to the Los Angeles Kings last night in what could easily be considered by both teams to be one of the season’s most controversial games. Critical calls were missed on both sides of the ice, from high-sticking, slashing and tripping, to goalie interference and cross-checking, and goals were allowed and disallowed, often when the opposite seemed true.
The Kings launched into scoring early and on the first power play of the game when Mike Richards snuck a backhanded puck behind Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen five minutes into the game. Reilly Smith had been called for goalie interference and was sent to the box just 12 seconds earlier.
Los Angeles took a 2-0 lead four minutes into the second period with Dustin Brown launching the puck off a wrist shot into the net. Loui Eriksson would return the goal just 20 seconds later, scoring his 11th of the season and putting him back at the top of the team’s goal scorers, tied with Jamie Benn and Ray Whitney. Whitney and Benn both assisted on the goal putting Benn at 32 points for the season and Whitney at 27. Eriksson’s goal kept him nestled between the two at 28.
Ten minutes later, Antoine Roussel was awarded a particularly controversial goal after the French forward tipped the puck behind the Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick off a high-stick deflection from Ryan Garbutt. The play was reviewed in Toronto and was declared a good goal, and left the game tied 2-2 headed into the second intermission.
The Kings jumped off the first face off of the third period, and appeared to grab the lead yet again just 10 seconds in when Trevor Lewis collided with Trevor Daley in front of the Stars net, but the played was called dead. Only 33 seconds later, Alex Goligoski gave the Stars the team’s first lead of the game with a slap shot that sailed behind Quick. The Stars had held the lead for only two minutes when Brenden Dillon was sent to the penalty box for roughing. Thirty seconds later, the Kings tied the game yet again with Brown scoring the night’s only power play goal off a wrist shot.
Four minutes into overtime, Los Angeles’ Jeff Carter took a pass from Mike Richards to the chest that bounced over Lehtonen’s glove and into the net, landing his 25th goal of the season.
The single point from taking the game to overtime has the Stars in position to still nab a playoff spot, but with only three games remaining, two of which are against the eighth and ninth place teams, three straight victories will be the team’s only chance to see the post season.
Closing out the regular season’s final road series is a battle against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.