LOS ANGELES -- After a strong showing in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final, Los Angeles Kings center Jeff Carter normally would have been available to the media in the home dressing room at Staples Center late Tuesday night.
However, Carter did not speak with reporters -- and for good reason.
Carter was getting dental work done -- a necessity after a high stick from behind delivered by Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith 7:58 into the second period. Carter, who was bleeding, returned to the game roughly 10 minutes later and assisted on Dwight King's empty-net goal that sealed the Kings' 3-1 win and brought them within 2-1 in the best-of-7 series with Game 4 set for Thursday at Staples Center (9 p.m. RT; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).
"I wanted to give him a tap, but not where I got him," Keith explained. "I'm glad to see that he came back."
Even though Keith called the high stick from behind "an accident," he may soon hear from the NHL's Department of Player Safety, which was reviewing the incident following the game -- as it does for all plays that could potentially rise to the level of supplemental discipline.
The League won't decide on any potential supplemental discipline until at least Wednesday.
"I have no idea," Keith said when he was asked if he thinks he will hear from the NHL regarding the play. "I just said it was an accident."
Keith was trailing Carter as the two were skating back up the ice. Keith reached down for his glove when Carter slashed his wrist. Keith, who had one hand on his stick, retaliated with a slash to Carter's face. He was given a double minor for high sticking.
"It's retaliation with a stick," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "It's not a high stick. Whatever they want to call it, they'll call it. Don't even need video."
Kings captain Dustin Brown thinks Keith hit Carter out of frustration. Los Angeles had taken a 2-0 lead 1:21 earlier.
"It's not a normal four-minute high stick, I don't think," Brown said. "I asked the ref. He only had one hand on his stick, but it's one of those things where it's not a four-minute [penalty] in the course of a play where you lift a stick or get a stick up on a guy. Probably Keith was a little frustrated and swung his stick and hit Carts in the face."
Brown said the Kings are not worried about what the League will decide.
"This time of year, players complain a lot in the media about what goes on on the ice and we're worried about getting ready for Game 4," he said. "The League, if they want to do anything, they can. It's nothing for the guys in here to be worried about."
Carter finished Game 3 with a pair of assists and a plus-2 rating over 16:04 of ice time. He won eight of his 13 faceoffs, giving him a 19-9 record in the circle since he moved to center in Game 2 because Mike Richards has been unable to play due to an upper-body injury.