The Los Angeles Kings beat the clock -- barely.
Drew Doughty pumped home a power-play goal with :00.4 seconds remaining to give the Los Angeles Kings a 3-2 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night.
Columbus' Samuel Pahlsson took a hooking penalty with 1:06 left in regulation, and the Kings buzzed away in the Jackets' zone. Curtis Sanford made a pair of stops in the final eight seconds on Anze Kopitar, and with time running out the puck came to Doughty, whose snap shot through traffic barely beat the final horn. Referee Steven Walkom originally waved off the goal, but video replay showed the puck crossed the goal line with less than a second to play -- though television replays indicated that the game clock stopped briefly with 1.8 seconds remaining before starting again.
"Watching the replay and talking with our (Fox Sports Ohio) producer, who runs our show, the clock stopped at 1.8 seconds -- it stopped for 1.5 seconds and they scored with 0.5 seconds (remaining)," Jackets interim coach Todd Richards said. "Something happened there, and it's really disappointing because our guys battled and worked hard."
In a statement issued Thursday, the NHL said "the League has begun a thorough review into the matter."
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Jackets, who rebounded from a poor performance in a 6-0 loss at San Jose on Tuesday but left with nothing to show for it.
"They fought for 60 minutes," Richards said. "They deserved something. We leave here feeling the negativity of a loss. I'm really disappointed for the players."
Kings coach Darryl Sutter couldn't remember winning a game this way.
“I don’t know. I barely remember the last second tonight," he said. "I don’t know. Probably. But the big thing is, you needed the red light to come on (before). It used to be, you never had the tenths (of seconds). Back in the old Chicago Stadium, it was just the clock."
The Kings improved to 60 points, good for seventh in the West, by winning their second straight game. They hadn't played since beating Ottawa on Jan. 23. It was the League-high 30th home game for the Kings, who play their next six on the road.
“I knew the puck was just kind of scrambling around there, and I didn’t know if our all teammates were just kind of swarming the crease there," Doughty said. "I was just kind of coming in late. I didn’t think anyone was going to see me. I was yelling, and Jack (Johnson) made a great play. He probably could have shot it, but instead he saw me coming in and just gave a little touch to me. Getting a quality shot from there, it’s pretty hard to miss. It was a good game.’’
The Jackets had tied the game 4:52 into the third period on Colton Gillies' first goal since joining Columbus. John Moore's shot was stopped by Jonathan Quick, but Antoine Vermette grabbed the rebound in the right circle and found Gilles racing down the slot for a quick one-timer into a wide-open left side of the net.
The Kings dominated the first period, outshooting the Jackets 13-9 and getting the game's first goal when Justin Williams beat Sanford from the left circle at 8:40 during a power play. Williams now has 11 points during a nine-game points streak.
Columbus came out strong in the second period and tied the game at 1:09 when Derick Brassard slid the puck out of a tangle of feet in front of the crease to Derek Dorsett, who fired it home just as Doughty slid into the net and took it off its moorings. But the goal, Dorsett's ninth of the season, counted and the game was even.
Los Angeles went back in front at 14:32 when Dustin Penner stripped R.J. Umberger in the Columbus zone, took a couple of strides and snapped a shot past Sanford for his fourth goal of the season.
“We were real average, quite honestly," Sutter said. "The difference between this game and the last game we played Columbus (a 1-0 loss on Jan. 7), was special teams. Last time, we had eight power plays and didn’t score. Tonight, we scored two power-play goals. Difference in the game."
Sanford stopped 30 shots for the injury-riddled Blue Jackets, who have dropped six in a row. Quick made 20 saves for the Kings.