The NHL reduced the size of the goal crease in an attempt to stimulate scoring, but that didn't satisfy Los Angeles Kings coach Larry Robinson whose team had two goals disallowed.
"All City pages:
you ask is to get a fair shake and I don't think we got a fair shake tonight," said Robinson, whose Kings lost 4-2 in the the Vancouver Canucks' season-opener Monday.
Robinson was especially upset after referee Stephen Walkom waived off Rob Blake's goal which would have tied the game 3-3 with 2:31 left in the third period. While the Kings' Sandy Moger had his foot in the crease, a replay showed he was clearly pushed in by Canucks defenseman Murray Baron.
"Apparently, you're the only ones that saw it," said Robinson, to a group of reporters. "You look up at the Jumbotron (video scoreboard) and there it is right in front of your eyes. ... Blake didn't even shoot the puck, yet and the guy knocked (Moger) into the crease. It's too bad."
Although he said he was going to bite his tongue, Robinson added Walkom "had a bad night" and called this a good example of the need to have two referees on the ice for all games.
"That's why I like the two-referee system because you have four eyes watching, you don't have those types of calls."
Peter Zezel led the canucks with two goals, including the game-winner 10:48 into the third period, and set up another as the Canucks erased 1-0 and 2-1 deficits.
| The Kings and Mattias Norstrom (14) took a beating in a 4-2 loss Monday at Vancouver. (AP) |
Zezel's go-ahead goal came on the power play after the Canucks had squandered their first seven opportunities. Set up at the bottom of the right circle by Brad May, Zezel rifled a rising shot that beat Kings goaltender Jamie Storr on the short side. Earlier, Zezel had tied the game 1-1 when he deflected Todd Bertuzzi's point shot with 5:12 left in the second period.
"It was nice. The (second) one was just a reaction. There was room, but there wasn't much room and I just thought that if I got it on net, I'd have the chance," said Zezel.
Zezel was a Canuck reclamation project last season, acquired in February from New Jersey after he had spent most of the year in the AHL. After a solid preseason, Zezel won himself a job on the Canucks' second line.
"It was a great night for him," said Vancouver coach Mike Keenan, who coached Zezel in both Philadelphia and St. Louis. "He's capable of playing the No. 2 spot. That's where he started his career and maybe that's where he's going to find a home and finish it off."
Dave Scatchard, who tied the game early in the third period, and Alexander Mogilny rounded out the Canucks scoring.
Yanic Perreault scored two shorthanded goals for the Kings, one short of matching an NHL record. Calgary's Theoren Fleury holds the league record for most shorthanded goals in one game, scoring three against St. Louis March 9, 1991.
"We always go for it whenever we get a chance and sometimes it works," said Perreault, who added it may have been in junior when he last scored two shorthanded goals.
Perreault has had a hand in all four goals the Kings have scored in their first two games of the season, with three goals and an assist.
The Canucks, the last NHL team to open the schedule this year, had their season-opening record improve to 15-11-3. The Kings, coming off Saturday's 2-1 season-opening win at Edmonton, open their season in L.A. Friday against Boston.
Gary Charbonneau, a North Vancouver resident, went home $100,000 richer when he shot the puck from center ice through a six-inch hole and into the net during a first intermission promotional contest.
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