Brothers Anton and Peter Stastny have scored a lot of big goals for the Quebec Nordiques since they joined the National Hockey League team after defecting from Czechoslovakia in 1980.
Wednesday night, they teamed to score the key goal as the Nordiques beat the Kings, 5-2, at the Forum. The Kings gave up three consecutive goals on just five shots in the third period en route to their fifth straight loss.
With the score tied at 2-2 in the third period, Anton Stastny scored a disputed power-play goal off a pass from his brother to give the Nordiques a 3-2 lead with 12:54 left. The Kings claimed that Anton intentionally kicked the puck into the net with his left skate.
But referee Kerry Frazer allowed the goal after consulting with the linesmen for about 30 seconds.
It appeared from a TV replay that the puck hit Anton's stick and then his skate before going into the net. He turned his leg after the puck hit it, but he didn't appear to kick it on purpose.
"I didn't have a good view of it from the bench, but it looked like it was kicked in," King Coach Pat Quinn said. "Our players all knew that it was kicked in, and so did theirs."
Most of the fans in the crowd of 8,811 spent the rest of the night shouting at referee Frazer.
King goalie Darren Eliot thought the goal should have been disallowed. "He kicked it in," Eliot said.
Said Anton Stastny: "There's no question that it was a goal all the way. The three officials said so.
"It went in off my skate, but it was a goal. I couldn't even move my skate because all my weight was on my left skate. It bounced over my stick and off my skate and into the net.
"It was a big goal. Goals like that usually turn it around."
The Kings wasted a chance to move back into a tie for third place with Vancouver in the Smythe Division after Vancouver and Winnipeg both lost earlier games. And the Kings remained in a fourth-place tie with Winnipeg, two points behind Vancouver.
The Kings (17-32-6) have now lost as many games as they did all last season, when they posted a 34-32-14 record.
"It was real discouraging because we needed the two points," King captain Dave Taylor said. "The other two teams (Vancouver and Winnipeg) lost, and we had a chance to make up ground on them but we squandered it.
"We should have dominated this team because they were missing a lot of defensemen."
The Nordiques (32-20-4), who have won four straight, moved into first place in the Adams Division, one point ahead of the Montreal Canadiens.
Quebec went into the game without three defensemen--Randy Moller (collarbone injury), Normand Rochefort (shoulder separation) and Pat Price, who underwent an appendectomy Wednesday night at Centinela Hospital Medical Center. Defenseman Gilbert Delorme returned to the lineup after missing six games with a bruised knee.
The Nordiques were so short on defense that left wing Alain Cote was converted to a defenseman.
However, Nordique goalie Clint Malarchuk was sharp in the nets, making 28 saves as the Kings outshot Quebec, 30-26.
"This was a big win for us," Malarchuk said. "You've got to give the defense a lot of credit. The forwards did a great job, also. And you've got to give a lot of credit to Alain Cote. He's normally a forward and he was playing defense tonight. He played great. We showed a lot of character since we've been in a bad spot with injuries."
With the Nordiques leading, 3-2, center Greg Malone scored a clinching goal with 2:24 left. And after the Kings pulled goalie Eliot for an extra skater, Peter Stastny added an empty-net goal with 13 seconds left.
The Kings were without defenseman Jay Wells, who was serving a one-game suspension after getting his third game misconduct penalty of the season in a 7-3 loss to Calgary Sunday night.
However, second-year defenseman Garry Galley returned to the Kings' lineup after missing 27 games with a knee injury.
Galley, who hadn't played since he was injured Dec. 8 at Winnipeg, almost scored, hitting the post on two shots.
"My timing was a little off," he said. "But it will come back."
The score was tied at 1-1 after the first period.
Left wing Michel Goulet beat Eliot on a breakaway to score just 5 minutes 46 seconds into the game.
However, center Marcel Dionne tied it with 4:52 left in the first period when he scored his 30th goal of the season off a pass from defenseman Dean Kennedy.
There was a big fight with 25 seconds remaining in the period. After the Kings' J.P. Kelly cross-checked Cote, Quebec's Gord Donnelly retaliated against Kelly, and Kennedy charged into Donnelly in the corner.
Kennedy and Donnelly got five minutes each for fighting, and Kelly got a minor.
The Kings took a 2-1 lead when Dave (Tiger) Williams scored a power-play goal on a deflection of a shot by defenseman Mark Hardy at 6:45 of the second period.
But the Nordiques tied it just 39 seconds later when center Paul Gillis scored on a breakaway.
"Greg Malone made a really great play along the boards," Gillis said. "I was surprised that I had the breakaway. I just pulled it along my forehand and put it in."
The Kings will close out the home stand Saturday night against the Washington Capitals. . . . Center/wing Anders Hakansson, who was suspended by the Kings for failing to report to the minors, announced his retirement. Hakansson, 29, had scored four goals and one assist in 38 games this season. "I am sorry that I have to take this action with Anders," King General Manager Rogie Vachon said. "The decision to assign Anders to New Haven was a very difficult one to make, but it was done in the best interest of the organization."