EDMONTON, Canada -- There was anger spraying everywhere from the Kings, the Oilers and their fans on a wild night at Rexall Place on Thursday.
For the Kings, it was directed at the overmatched officials, a failure to capitalize on one power-play opportunity after another, and finally, the inability to protect a lead for the final five seconds of regulation.
The Kings were within 4.7 seconds of leaving Edmonton with their first victory of the season but instead had to settle for a point. Dynamic rookie Nail Yakupov batted in a rebound at the 19:55 mark of the third period, knocking it out of midair, and Sam Gagner scored on the power play in overtime to give the Oilers a 2-1 victory.
Game 3 of the season was memorable in all the wrong ways.
The Kings failed to capitalize on seven power plays, including 3 minutes and 9 seconds with a five-on-three advantage. They are 0 for 18 this season. Bizarre calls were made all night, including one on the Oilers for smothering the puck and a 10-minute misconduct for starting a fight when wearing a face shield. The Kings were hit with two bench minors, including one giving the Oilers a power play, leading to the winning goal.
That's the briefest of summaries. But the most incendiary moment came when Gagner's apparent tying goal with 1:05 left was waved off after it was ruled he was in the goal crease. Replays showed Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi pushing Gagner into goalie Jonathan Quick.
The fans went nuts and started throwing debris on the ice after the goal was disallowed.
“It's kind of unlucky a guy comes and cross-checks me from behind,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said of what happened just before the waved-off goal. “That's 100% a penalty. But because they're down a man, down a goal, usually not going to call it. We've got to definitely learn to finish it out.”
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter was at his sarcastic best.
“Gotta be a record for non five-on-five play. It's gotta be a record,” he said. “They [the fans] bombed the ice with stuff. It was awesome because they're all [hacked] off. ... I'm sure the league thinks it was a great-officiated game.”
Said Doughty: “I got some nacho cheese on my shoulder.”
Gagner didn't think he was guilty of wrongdoing on the disallowed goal, but did acknowledge that he did bowl over two Kings just prior to that, “battling for open ice.”
“It was obviously tough when they called off the goal, but then Nail scored there — and it was a great feeling to win the game,” he said.
The wild finish hid the fact that the Kings and the Oilers got together and combined to play one of those ragged games that you usually see in September in preseason.
The lone Kings' goal came in the second period on a breakaway finished off by forward Jeff Carter. Carter beat goalie Devan Dubnyk at 13:26 with a backhander, taking a nice pass from left wing Kyle Clifford.
It was the first goal from one of the Kings' top six forwards this season. In the opening two games, the fourth line led the way, sparked by Clifford's three points.
Sutter benched the struggling Dustin Penner and moved Clifford to help jump-start the likes of center Mike Richards and Carter. He also scratched left wing Simon Gagne for the second straight game.
But the move with Penner stood out after the Stanley Cup champion Kings lost their opening two games.
“It's one of those things that the guillotine has to fall somewhere when the team underproduces and more time than not, it's fallen on me,” said Penner. “… I wish could say I've played better. I haven't. It's on me.”
Sutter said that Penner, and others, have struggled with the pace of play.