Right wing Anders Hakansson scored the winning goal Saturday night as the Kings rallied from a 4-0 deficit to beat the Winnipeg Jets, 5-4, in front of 9,969 fans at the Forum.
The goal, Hakansson's first since Nov. 2, came with 2:56 remaining in the game and was scored off a rebound of a shot by center Bernie Nicholls. The puck appeared to go into the net off Hakansson's left skate.
The Jets protested the goal, claiming that Hakansson had intentionally kicked the puck into the net. However, referee Terry Gregson allowed it to stand.
"I know they were upset and I can understand it," Hakansson said. "But I never attempted to kick it in. It wasn't my intention. It just hit the blade of my skate and went in.
"Bernie (Nicholls) was coming in from the blue line and he shot and the puck hit the blade of my left skate and went into the net. It went in right beside his (Winnipeg goalie Dan Bouchard's) pad inside the post."
After the game, Bouchard went over to Gregson, made an obscene gesture, then smashed his stick against the glass as he was skating off the ice on his way to the locker room. Bouchard was given a gross misconduct penalty by Gregson. He will be fined $100 by the National Hockey League and the incident will be reviewed by the league office.
Asked what had happened on Hakansson's goal, Bouchard said: "You guys already know. You've got instant replay. Go look at the pictures. One picture is worth a thousand words. I'm not going to repeat myself.
"The guys (officials) are brutal anyway. The referee couldn't have seen it because he was at center ice. . . . He's really in good shape."
Asked what he had said to the officials after the game, Bouchard replied: "It's not important. Have you ever seen a baseball player smash his bat?"
Said referee Gregson: "Mr. Bouchard is entitled to his opinion."
It was difficult to tell from looking at a videotape whether Hakansson had intentionally kicked the puck into the net because the camera angle was poor. The game was not televised, but the Kings always videotape games for coaching purposes.
"It doesn't matter if it was kicked in or not," Winnipeg Coach Barry Long said. "There's no way that that team (the Kings) should have caught up. We had them on the ropes. They were history. But we made too many dumb mistakes.
"I suppose that it was kicked in because they didn't know what the hell was going on out there. But it shouldn't have come down to that. There's no excuse for losing with a four-goal lead."
The Kings had played well in a 5-2 loss to the Soviet Red Army team in an exhibition game Thursday night, but embarrassed themselves in the first period Saturday.
They were booed off the ice at the end of the period, trailing, 3-0.
Winnipeg took the lead just 48 seconds into the game when left wing Brian Mullen scored on a rebound. Center Thomas Steen then made it 2-0 on a shorthanded goal 2:22 into the period.
Another turnover resulted in center Dale Hawerchuk scoring the Jets' third goal late in the opening period, and Hawerchuk made it 4-0 1:09 into the second period.
However, the Kings rallied for four consecutive goals in the span of 6 minutes and 15 seconds in the second period to tie it at 4-4 going into the final period.
Left wing Joe Paterson's first goal since coming to the Kings Dec. 18 from the Philadelphia Flyers started the comeback at 4:19 of the second period. Center Marcel Dionne, who had two assists, set up the goal.
Right wing Dave Taylor made it 4-2 when he scored his 12th goal of the season after faking Jet defenseman Randy Carlyle. Dionne and Paterson got assists on the goal.
Right wing Phil Sykes and center Doug Smith scored two goals within 26 seconds to tie the game. Sykes scored off a pass from Smith at 10:12 and Smith tied it at 4-4 at 10:34.
"This was like a playoff game for us," Sykes said. "There's no question that it was our biggest game of the season and our biggest comeback."
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Kings. They improved to 9-21-4, while the Jets, who have lost three in a row, fell to 12-23-4.
"They (Winnipeg) were a better team than us, but they lost the hockey game," King Coach Pat Quinn said. "We were very fortunate to win. I admired how we battled back. Surprised is not the emotion. It's more like relieved and pleased."
The Kings play the Jets again here on Monday night.
Referee Don Koharski, who was supposed to officiate the game, injured his knee in a game Friday night in Vancouver and was replaced by referee Terry Gregson. . . . Winnipeg defenseman Peter Taglianetti suffered a broken nose during a first-period fight with King left wing Joe Paterson. Taglianetti was playing in his first game since being recalled from the minors.