The Los Angeles Kings' last two matchups with the Edmonton Oilers in 2014-15 were extraordinary for very different reasons; an 8-2 shellacking of the seemingly hapless Oilers in Game 77, and a stunning 4-2 loss that helped extinguish LA's playoff hopes. This one was a pretty normal 3-2 win for LA, their fifth straight. At least, it was normal until an ending that recalled another memorable game from the two teams' past.
No point in waiting any longer to discuss the game's conclusion, then. An early-season 2012-13 game up at Rexall Place featured a disallowed goal in the final minute, after which Oilers fans littered the ice in disgust, before #1 pick Nail Yakupov scored with 4.7 seconds left to send the game to overtime. Connor McDavid managed to recall both goals as he appeared to tie the game with 5.2 seconds left from a similar spot. McDavid didn't get to slide down the ice, though, as Quick reached back with his glove to take the equalizer away. Two screenshots of the action were in heavy circulation from disgruntled social media accounts after the game; one appearing to show the ref signaling a goal, and one showing the puck appearing to cross the line beneath Quick's glove from a diagonal angle.
hmmm let's pull out CSI on this one pic.twitter.com/43wFJPn5tV— AOL keyword: Mike (@mikeFAIL) October 26, 2015
The ref signaling a goal was easily addressed; two seconds after that moment (in which he extended his arm as he moved to the net and immediately retracted it), the referee emphatically waved off the goal before heading off to review. The second shot, actually, was easily addressed too: was it 100% definitive? John Shannon of Sportsnet had an interesting breakdown of the perils of not using an overhead angle to judge goal/no-goal during last year's playoffs. That uncertainty made it easy to see the refs' conundrum; the overhead angle was useless with Quick's glove blocking any view of the puck. Despite any "smoking gun" photos from other sources, ruling no goal was by far the lesser of two evils, as I'm pretty sure there's no precedence for ruling a goal on review when the puck isn't visible over the line. Andrew and John pointed out that much in the wake of the play.
The controversy took a bit of attention off of just how good a recovery it was by Quick, as he had managed to get the tiniest piece of a tipped shot just seconds earlier to send it wide. Quick was in full flail, got back up, and managed to make a stop after a cross-ice pass. And if you prefer more definitive lead-saving stops, just see what he did earlier in the third to Rob Klinkhammer:
Quick is on a roll, having allowed only six goals on 142 shots during LA's five-game winning streak. Another set of players who entered the game on a roll: Jeff Carter, Milan Lucic, and Tyler Toffoli. Toffoli was held without a goal or a point for the first time in a while, but Carter netted the first goal for LA, banking in a shot from behind the net after Lucic was denied. The trio wasn't quite as effective as they have been in past nights, though, and they were the guys who failed to clear the puck before McDavid nearly tied the game. McDavid, to his credit, picked up a nice assist in the first, using speed to get around Jake Muzzin and create a chance which Benoit Pouliot banged in to open the scoring. McDavid also bossed Muzzin on that late not-quite-a-goal, though Muzzin at least earned some quality defending by Jon Rosen for his, well, quality defending.
Anze Kopitar's fourth line goal livened up an aimless second period and Taylor Hall converted a late power play, with both committing questionable hits (Hall from behind on Kopitar, Kopitar from behind on Pouliot) down the stretch. The stage was set for someone to come through. It wasn't one of Edmonton's youngsters, it was Tanner Pearson, with a timely first goal of the season on LA's own power play. After a couple weeks of sporadically effective play on the Kings' third line, Pearson took advantage of his time with Kopitar and Dustin Brown tonight. The three were so effective on the final power play that they received a second consecutive shift after an initial 40-second shift, and Pearson converted a loose puck for the actual game-winner with 3:26 to go.