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Kings: No need to replay this collapse

1/3/2012

LOS ANGELES -- There were a number of ways the Kings could have avoided overtime Monday night against the visiting Colorado Avalanche, and certainly avoided going to a shootout against a team that had won nine straight shootouts and 17 of the last 18.

They weren’t successful on hardly any opportunities, allowing the Avalanche to continue their winning ways with a 2-1 shootout victory at Staples Center.

Their failings, in no particular order:

The Kings squandered five more power plays, including one in overtime that lasted 1 minute 35 seconds.

Kings second-year forward Kyle Clifford botched a clearing pass along the blue line with just under six minutes remaining in regulation and the Kings clinging to a one-goal lead. That mistake allowed the Avalanche to take possession in their offensive zone and score the tying goal seconds later.

The Kings missed on all three shootout attempts, forcing goalie Jonathan Quick to be perfect during that stretch as well.

And then there was the sudden hesitation on offense during the second period, allowing Colorado to gather itself and remain within a goal heading into the third.

But the one play Kings coach Darryl Sutter offered the most commentary afterward had nothing to do with his players, but rather the league’s policy on replay reviews.

The Kings appeared to take a 1-0 lead minutes into the game when Justin Williams deflected a shot from defenseman Jack Johnson while on an early power play. An on-ice official immediately waved off the goal because he thought Williams used a high stick to deflect the puck. After a fairly quick video review in Toronto, the ruling on the ice stood.

Sutter says he believes any puck that's scored before a whistle should be counted as a goal until video proves otherwise. The NHL, as well as other professional sports that use replay, also stick with the on-field ruling, if there’s no conclusive visual evidence to overturn the call.

“Every puck that goes in the net, unless there’s a whistle or an act of blowing a whistle, should be called a goal, and then they can overrule it,” Sutter said. “To me, it makes more sense that way ... it shouldn’t be left to inconclusive, and then the call stands, it should be the other way. That’s how I see it.”

Sutter might have a better chance of fixing the Kings’ scoring woes than changing NHL policy.

The Kings came into the game last in the NHL in scoring and their goals-per game average dipped even further with the one-goal effort against the Avalanche. Sutter was happy with his team’s effort, but thought they changed their offensive strategy during the second period.

“Quite honestly, the second period we stopped shooting,” he said. “We started trying to make that little play across the net and those sort of things in the second period, instead of getting the puck to the net. The percentages are better when the goalie has to make the save.”

The good news is the Kings are still in first place in the Pacific Division, one point ahead of San Jose. With the Kings getting two days between home games for the first time since Sutter was hired two weeks ago, he decided to give them the day off Tuesday.

“Just so they can get away from me for a while,” Sutter said.