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Kings Drop a Game but Pick Up a Point

Hockey: L.A. moves into eighth spot despite blowing a 2-0 lead against Sharks and losing in overtime, 3-2.

March 28, 2001|THOMAS BONK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN JOSE — There must be some kind of revolving door in that playoff penthouse, at least down there in the last house on the block, where the Kings moved into the neighborhood one more time.

The Kings blew a 2-0 lead but still picked up a point and put themselves into the eighth and final spot in the playoffs with six games left in the season even though they lost to the San Jose Sharks, 3-2, Tuesday night at the Compaq Center at San Jose.

It has been a dizzying 10 days for the Kings, who have been out of the eighth spot, then in, out again, then in again. The point they picked up for the overtime defeat tied Phoenix for the eighth and final spot in the playoffs, which the Kings would win in a tiebreaker with more victories.

How long can this go on? With a half dozen games left, the answer is not much longer.

This one had to hurt. Mike Ricci's second goal of the game, an all-out assault on Felix Potvin 1:53 into overtime turned what could have been a two-point pickup for the Kings into a heartbreaking defeat.

"We had a 2-0 lead, but we were in the other team's building," King Coach Andy Murray said. "That's the way it goes.

"The locker room was silent and I asked Matty Norstrom what place we are in," Murray said. "He said eighth. And we are."

For a while, it didn't seem anyone would score. There was definitely a power shortage going in this series. Until Luc Robitaille's goal five minutes into the second period, the teams had played seven periods of regulation and two overtimes with only one goal.

But Robitaille ended that, taking a pass from Glen Murray streaking down the right side and shoveling the puck past Evgeni Nabokov from a left-side angle for a 1-0 Kings lead.

It looked a lot better for the Kings with just under two minutes left in the period. Potvin was staked to a 2-0 lead on a power play goal by Jozef Stumpel, who got his stick on the rebounding puck after Mathieu Schneider's shot from the point was rejected by Nabokov. The Kings had the advantage after Bryan Marchment's roughing penalty.

But the Kings were hardly through celebrating before the Sharks finally scored against Potvin.

Only 49 seconds after Stumpel's goal, Ricci knocked the puck past Potvin to cut the Kings' lead in half, 2-1, with 1:07 remaining.

The Sharks got even on Alexander Korolyuk's goal on the power play with 3:07 to play in regulation, with Adam Deadmarsh in the penalty box for roughing Teemu Selanne. "Questionable," is how Murray described the penalty.

Then it was over almost before they knew it, with Selanne leading a charge toward Potvin, who ended up on his back in the crease and the puck ended up in the back of the net.

It's getting critical now for the Kings, who have a six-pack of games still left, beginning with three home games in a row--Columbus, Colorado and Vancouver.

Three in a row at home has got to be good, right?

"Only if you win them," Murray said.

At least the Kings won't be seeing the Sharks any more, after playing them four times in 12 days.

Potvin and Nabokov took turns turning away pucks in a scoreless first period most noteworthy for the 10 missed shots and the pair of failed power plays by the Ducks.

The Kings began the second period with 1:37 left on a power play, the result of Todd Harvey's two-minute penalty just before the end of the first period after he skated into Potvin and knocked him to the ice.

As it turned out, the Kings didn't even get off a shot against Nabokov.

The Sharks, who were 1-7-2 in March, have had just enough problems to turn off some of their fans. When the familiar chant of "Beat L.A." started, one fan offered his own chant.

"Beat anybody," he implored.

As it turned out, they did just that.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Kings

If the NHL playoffs began today, the Kings (82 points) would face the Colorado Avalanche.

1. Colorado 111

2. Detroit 103

3. Dallas 95

4. St. Louis 98

5. Edmonton 87

6. Vancouver 87

7. San Jose 86

8. Kings 82

Note: The top three are division leaders.

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