Kings downgrade Lightning to tropical storm, finally win a shootout

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Antero Niittymaki (30), of Finland, looks over his shoulder as Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (11), of Slovenia, scores the game-winning goal during a shootout in their NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009 in Tampa, Fla. The Kings won 2-1. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)Game 21: Kings 2, Lightning 1 (SO)

Let's get it out of the way. That was not a goal. Plain and simple. And the reason why it wasn't reviewed was it was not a reviewable play. Questionable calls are a part of the game,
and these things have a tendency to balance out in the end. So Lightning fans, I love ya, but shaddup.

The Kings showed some testicular fortitude Saturday, coming back after the 7-0 hide-tanning shutout by Atlanta. Back in the saddle was Jonny (Don't Call Me Jonathon) Quick, who deserved to get the green light again. Because really what's worse: giving up three goals on 14 shots, or giving up four goals on seven?

I would've had this game as one of the top road games to watch on TV, had it been on TV. Blame the start of college basketball, coupled with college football season. That's right, ladies and germs... we're going to have to contend with more sports for air time. Over the next seven games, only four will be televised. Guess broadcasting games in HD does no good to the viewer... IF IT'S NOT BEING BROADCAST!!! Ahem, sorry.

I can't blame Fox Sports for deciding to broadcast the Ducks/Detroit game. Then again, they make these programming decisions months in advance, and they figured the Ducks would be playing better. What they need is a flex plan. If the NFL can re-evaluate which games to
broadcast due to level of the play on the field later in the season, why can't Fox Sports? Bob and Jim were there, sitting in the press box with Rich Hammond. Throw some cans on their heads and let's go!

New Kings ShieldDrew Doughty and Anze Kopitar, charter members of the Hockeywood Tyrants, my fantasy hockey team for work this season, gave me points tonight. Kopitar is still on pace to break 100 points this season, which is truly a delight to see. Now I know the Kings have shoved their old Shield logo to the side in favor of their new favorite home plate logo, but maybe we can update it to make it relevant again... Replace Bailey with the Slovenian Snow Leopard? Yes please...

My new favorite hockey name? Paul Szczechura. Talk about a cool-looking name, it's got two Zs! Not only that, but his last name is worth 405 points in Scrabble, if it happens to start in the top or bottom left corner of the board (double letter score on the second Z followed by two triple word scores! Did I spend way too much time figuring that out? Yup yup...)

The knock against the Kings has been they only play part of the game. Two periods here, a period and half there... It can be quite maddening at the inconsistency as a fan. But as a player, you also have to contend with what the other team is dealing with. Nashville gets shutout by the Ducks on Nov. 5th, respond with a shellacking of the Kings the next game; Chicago welcomes back their captain Jonathon Toews back into the lineup after missing two+ week with a concussion, and the Hawks respond big, culiminating a huge win by limiting the Kings to two shots in the third. Ilya Kovalchuk shows some of his own testicular fortitude by playing with a broken foot, and the Thrasher respond with that embarrassing shutout.

There are more factors than the Kings simply just putting out the effort every game. I know players don't like to scoreboard watch, but maybe they should. What L.A. needs to do is rise to the challenge of each scenario and play above their opponent. Four points in four games isn't bad. But with the exception of that 2-shot period against the Blackhawks, the Kings have been playing with that mindset. Sometimes the puck just doesn't go in. Like in overtime with the Lightning.

• AP: Kopitar scores lone shootout goal in L.A. win
    “That felt great,” Quick said. “(Friday’s) game was a rough one, so it was great to see the way the team battled back the night after on the road. Everyone just dug in deep and played a great game.”
• Kings steal one on the Bay
    The Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning staged an even, well-played game, one so good that both teams deserved to celebrate victories on Saturday night. Actually, they did.
• Yahoo: Team report
    After the Lightning thought they had won the game in overtime -- a goal was overturned after an officials conference -- the Kings held on and took it to a shootout, in which Anze Kopitar led off and scored the only goal. The Kings had been 0-2 in shootouts this season.
They said it
    “You know, I don’t know. But not player on our bench moved. Everybody knew that there was going to need to be a conversation about it. I’ve watched the replay, and I can’t give you an impartial opinion, I’m sure, but when I look at it, with my experience, it is the correct call. O’Donnell did not cross-check him. He did not push him in. There has to be an attempt by the player to stop, and Quick got turned sideways on the play. It’s the correct call, in my view of it.” – Terry Murray, on who got called for the interference call.
    “That was probably one of the more physical teams in the East Coast. Obviously we’ve only played a couple, but they’ve got some big D and some physical D. I think it was pretty evenly matched physically." – Dustin Brown, on the physical nature of the game.
Around the Kingdom

• Scuderi injury report
    After the game, Scuderi stood in the hallway outside the Kings’ lockerroom with a protective boot on his foot/lower leg and joked, “It’s my shoulder.”
• Random Ramblings
    Ryan Smyth should have had at least three, if not five, goals in the last two games. Still not sure how he missed some of those WIDE open looks at the net.
• HockeyBuzz's Matt Barry: Controversy Surrounds Kings 2-1 OT Win
"It's amazing to me how incompetent these guys (referees)are?" Tampa analyst Bobby Taylor said following the game. "They never get any better, these officials. Never get any better."
• Lightning does not strike twice
    Overtime – The Kings got nearly all the chances and looked no worse for the extra session wear…until Tampa Boy scored…or did they?  They cheered like they scored.  They celebrated.  Rick “no money on this game” Tocchet was wearing a smile and walking to the locker room.  Guess what Lightning fans.  No goal.
• A Queen Among Kings: A Dismal Outcome and Another Lease At Life
    The Kings are still second in the Pacific Division and are in a three-way tie for third in the Western Conference. I can't do anything but smile at those numbers. I'm definitely not waiting for them to falter down the standings anymore. They are at the top not because of a fluke; they're there because they are working hard every night and getting the effort in.
• Inside Hockey: Kopitar is Fit To Be King
    Confidence, determination and a will to have fun and enjoy the game ona nightly basis has this Kings team primed for success and a playoffappearance, mostly because of the play of Kopitar and company.
• Bleacher Report: Wayne Simmonds – Hard Work Paying Dividends
    Simmonds has a bright future ahead; in only his second season he has demonstrated he has the potential to be special. If he continues to put in the work, expect great things from him in the years to come.
From across the aisle, the Tampa Bay viewpoint

• St. Petersberg Times: For Lightning, a hard loss
    "A terrible call," goalie Antero Niittymaki said of the overtime ruling. "We won that game. I don't know what happened. … It's a terrible feeling. It's nothing to do with you or your teammates. It's something you can't control. … We're all human. We all make mistakes."
• Tampa Bay Online: Lightning denied again in overtime, fall to Kings
    "It's a tough one," Tocchet said. "We thought it was a goal. Obviously the ref pointed, but then he said it was incidental contact. That's how it was explained to me. There's nothing you can do. It happens all the time, where a goal is called back. You've still got to be able to focus."
• Raw Charge: Tampa Bay Lightning Game 17: versus the Los Angeles Kings
    Any way you slice it, it was a botched call by the officials. The nearest official made the call that it was a goal, but that was overturned by someone else on the ice. A little too quickly for my comfort, if you ask me, but whatever. Calls like that happen during the season. Officials are only human, after all.
• Joe Bolts Fan: OT Robbery Can’t Erase Glass-Rattling Effort
    Yep, pretty sure even the folks seated over in section 116 could read his lips as Andrej Meszaros’ shot from blueline at 1:42 in the fourth frame was waived off due to what the zebras deemed “goalie interference”.
• Lightning Shout: Lightning jobbed by referee
    Niittymaki made a nifty glove save on a shot by NHL points leader Kopitar from near the crease just over a minute into the second. Kopitar assisted on Doughty's goal for his 17th assist and 31st point.
• GDT Tampa Bay VS Los Angeles
    HOCKEYFAN02: Other than that it was a good, physical game between two young teamswith a lot of skill on the ice. In the end, the ref wanted to make surehe got all the attention over the players on the ice. What a joke.
    Bobsled Gainey: We got screwed. With our pants on. Twice. ****
    RightKinger: The Kings have always been on the wrong end of these situations over the last few years and it's nice to have one go our way.
    BoltsSoanian33: oh well.i ****ing hate those ****ing refs.****ing unbelievable.i am so ****ing pissed right now.****, ****, ****.
    IdealisticSniper: Almost 24 hours later and Im still beyond annoyed. Not only did theybreak their own NHL rules when they ruled it a no goal, as Acehawkpointed out directly, they let a team bully them into making a call.Even Quick called them *****es with that quote right there. Implyingthat he could influence calls the way he did.
Peeping the dailies

Here's the unedited video (thanks to of the unallowed goal


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