OTTAWA -- The officials went to video review twice Monday, and the Kings didn't like what they saw either time.
Two times in their 3-2 loss to Ottawa at Scotiabank Place, the Kings put the puck in the net, only to have officials, both on the ice and on the video-review crew in Toronto, say the goals did not count.
The second call stung the most. Ryan Smyth deflected Jack Johnson's shot into the Ottawa net with three seconds remaining in the third period. The goal would have tied the game, but referee Eric Furlatt immediately waved off the goal, saying that Smyth had deflected the puck with a high stick.
A lengthy video review ensued, and officials in Toronto declined to reverse Furlatt's goal. Mike Murphy, the NHL's senior vice president of hockey operations, told Kings TV analyst Jim Fox that officials had ``no view available that would allow them to change the call on the ice.''
``Well, when I tipped it I brought my stick back down, so I think it was pretty close,'' said Smyth, who had given the Kings a 2-1 lead with a second-period goal. ``I thought it was a good goal. … It would have been great. Three seconds left. It would have been a nice turning point, for sure.''
The consensus after the game seemed to be that the play was close, and that video-review officials likely would have upheld the on-ice call, whether it was ruled a goal or a non-goal.
``That happens sometimes, and you've got to fight through that and overcome those types of things,'' Smyth said. ``It's frustrating when they are pretty obvious. That's what they were saying, that our video coaches were saying, that it was a good goal. So it's frustrating, but we've got to overcome those type things.''
The other disputed call came late in the first period. During a scramble in front of the Ottawa net, the Senators' Matt Carkner slid and appeared to deliberately pull the net off. Wayne Simmonds scored, moments after the net was dislodged, and there was no goal and no penalty called.
Both calls went against the Kings, and helped send them to their fourth loss in their last five games and dropped them to 1-2 on this four-game East Coast road trip. After the game, the Kings didn't protest Furlatt's call too much, and rightfully pointed out that they contributed to their own demise.
``I think all of us, we're going to have our opinion that it's a goal,'' Kings coach Terry Murray said. ``Ottawa is going to have their opinion that it's not a goal. That's the way it goes. You'll get your calls sometimes. It will work the other way and, as they say, it comes out in the end, so we'll just move on and get ready for Montreal.''
The Kings might have lost two goals to video reviews, but they also allowed two goals that seemed to be highly preventable, and those plays turned a 2-1 lead into a 3-2 loss.
Late in the second period, Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson stripped the puck from defenseman Jack Johnson in the Kings' zone, then fed a pass to Milan Michalek for the game-tying goal.
The Kings outshot the Senators 11-4 in the third period -- and 30-19 for the game -- but Ottawa's Jason Spezza scored the game-winning goal with 8:41 left. Spezza came off the bench, took a pass from Alex Kovalev, made a move around Matt Greene in the left circle and beat Jonathan Quick.
``He had a good head of steam and made a nice move,'' Greene said. ``I've got to stop that, though. If I want to play the minutes against a guy like that, then I've got to be better against him. That third goal was completely my fault.''
The Kings have lost four times in the last eight days, and in each of those games they held a lead.
In each game, it was only a one-goal lead and in one case -- last Monday against San Jose -- it was a first-period lead, but regardless, last season one of the Kings' strengths was the ability to close out games in which they led, a strength that seems to be less evident so far this season.
``That's something that we're definitely lacking right now, especially in the last four or five games,'' Greene said. ``We're letting teams back in it. Last year we weren't. Killer instinct or whatever it is, I don't know what it is right now but it's just not working and we've got to find that part of our game.''
Then there's the power play. Smyth's second-period goal allowed the Kings to break an 0-for-13 power-play skid, but even so, the Kings went 1-for-5 on the power play against Ottawa and faltered at an important time when trying to tie the game.
The Kings had a golden opportunity when they went on the power play with 5:56 remaining in the third period, but they had only one decent scoring opportunity in two minutes.
``We've got to take a look at it. I don't know,'' Murray said, when asked about his options for improving the power play. ``Again, it comes down to just some execution. We were off. We were off in our 5-on-5 play and execution, and it's carrying over to our special teams. It's a total game, right now, that's off-balance.
``I think it's starting to come back. We outshoot them 30 to 19 tonight, so there's good signs that it's heading back in the right direction. I liked our recovery of pucks tonight. I thought we competed well. We're still trying to be a little cute through the middle of the ice sometimes, on 5-on-5, and again it just shows on our power play. When we keep pushing in the right direction, I think everything will fall in place for us.''
The Kings had to deal with adversity early in Monday's game. Four seconds after a Kings first-period power play ended, the Senators went on the power play and took advantage.
The Senators won an offensive-zone faceoff and the puck reached Kovalev in the right circle. He broke his stick on the shot, which beat Quick at the 10-minute mark with something of a knuckleball shot to give the Senators a 1-0 lead. The goal gave Kovalev his 1,000th NHL point.
The Kings tied the game with 3:43 remaining in the first period. Spezza attempted to pass the puck out of the Senators' zone, but Kopitar picked off the pass, took a couple strides and beat Leclaire with a high wrist shot from the middle of the right circle to tie the game 1-1.
Simmonds nearly gave the Kings the lead in the final minute of the first period, but video review showed that the net had been dislodged by Carkner before the puck went in the net.
``If it's not a goal then it's a penalty,'' Murray said. ``The player does pull it [the net] off. That's just a play that you miss. That's all. We had plenty of power-play opportunities, so I'm not gong to go there, or stay there, with that play. That was a real quick play. It would have been great at the time, but we had plenty of opportunities to get it back, and we're not taking advantage of those situations right now.''
The Kings' first power-play goal in three games gave them a 2-1 lead, 7:52 into the second period. Justin Williams skated in and took a sharp wrist shot from the high slot, and Smyth, running traffic in front of Leclaire, tipped the puck into the net.
Ottawa tied the game with 56 seconds remaining in the second period. Daniel Alfredsson stripped the puck from Johnson in the Kings' zone and took it behind the net. Alfredsson centered to Michalek, who beat Quick from close range to make it 2-2.
Spezza gave the Senators a 3-2 lead with 8:41 remaining in the third period. Spezza carried the puck, with speed, up the left side of the Kings' zone, made a move around Greene and beat Quick from a tight angle with a wrist shot.
That set up the late drama, with Smyth's non-goal.
``We shot ourselves in the foot early on,'' Smyth said. ``We had chances early on that we should have buried, so it shouldn't have come down to that. Give them credit. They battled hard, kept in it and found ways and Spezza scored a nice goal.''
1 - 0 OTT
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 LAK
2 - 2 Tie