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Seconds Count as Kings Lose to Blackhawks

In first game since Allison's knee injury, L.A. surrenders tying goal with under a minute left in third period, then loses on Housley's power-play goal in overtime, 2-1.

November 01, 2002|Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writer

CHICAGO — Life without Jason Allison began uneasily Thursday night for the Kings, who tried to win with one goal and almost pulled it off.

The Chicago Blackhawks, however, took advantage of two late King penalties, scored the tying goal with 35 seconds to play in the third period, the winner 94 seconds into overtime and sent the Kings home from a five-game trip with an improbable 2-1 loss.

King Coach Andy Murray stared out onto the ice at the United Center for nearly a minute afterward, unwilling for a moment to accept his fate.

"You want your players to be rewarded because they battled so hard," he said. "It would have been nice to see them walk out of here with a 1-0 win."

It almost happened.

But with Allison, their scoring leader, presumably watching at home in Manhattan Beach, his injured right knee on ice, and Adam Deadmarsh also sidelined because of a right wrist injury, King defenseman Chris McAlpine gave his former teammates a chance.

McAlpine, who signed with the Kings in July after two seasons with the Blackhawks, was whistled for holding winger Mark Bell at 17:22 of the third period.

"He was swiping at the puck and I was just jamming his stick," said McAlpine, who had barely stepped out of the penalty box and back onto the ice when Tyler Arnason scored after a scramble in front of the net, tying the score at 19:25.

Only 28 seconds into overtime, King defenseman Andreas Lilja was sent off for hooking Arnason, leading to the game-winning power-play goal by Phil Housley, whose shot from the slot glanced off goaltender Felix Potvin's glove.

Potvin, screened on the plays, saw neither shot coming at him.

"It was a good trip," he said of the Kings' 2-1-1-1 journey, "but it's disappointing to lose a game like this. Any time you lose a lead with [35] seconds left and you lose in OT, especially to a team in your conference, it's disappointing."

The Kings, Murray had insisted earlier, can survive and even thrive without Allison, as they did for long stretches last season without Mathieu Schneider and Ziggy Palffy, and as they have this season without Aaron Miller.

"We need to really be careful that we don't let this Jason Allison thing take on a life of its own," the coach said. "This happens all the time. Players get hurt all the time. He's not here. Let's not worry about it. Let's move on....

"We'll hang in there every game and try to find a way to get our points. We're trying not to make too big a deal out of it. He's hurt. He's gone. We'll talk to him when he gets back. That's just the way it is."

In Allison's absence, Murray shuffled his forward lines. Bryan Smolinski skated on the top line between Erik Rasmussen and rookie Alexander Frolov, Eric Belanger on the second unit between Jaroslav Bednar and Palffy, who was back in the lineup after sitting out six of the previous seven games because of a strained groin.

The Kings, however, managed only a power-play goal by defenseman Jaroslav Modry, whose shot from the left faceoff circle slipped between the pads of goaltender Jocelyn Thibault at 7:07 of the second period with Alex Zhamnov in the penalty box for hooking Palffy.

It wasn't quite enough.

"The bottom line is, those guys are out of the lineup and we don't think too much about it," Schneider said, referring to Allison and Deadmarsh. "We're trying to win with what we've got. I thought the guys did a real good job tonight of playing the system. We had some good chances, but we didn't capitalize.

"It's just a tough way to lose a game. It's disappointing. We were fortunate we got the point out of it, but we've got to learn from it as well."

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