The Kings found a way to lose another tough game tonight, this time losing to Phoenix at home 2-0. The game-winning goal belonged to Martin Hanzal who swatted home a power play goal in the second period. The catch with this goal was that it came off a disputed high-stick. The play went to review and stayed there for five minutes while officials in Toronto looked at the replay to see if Hanzal knocked the puck into the net with a high stick.
To the naked eyes, even those on an angle, it appeared that the 6’5″ 220 pound forward swung his stick on the deflected puck too high above the crossbar to put home the loose puck. The officials on the ice called it a goal and when it was sent to the instant replay war room in Toronto, it was on them to prove that it wasn’t knocked down and into the net with a high stick. (Video)
The replay angles weren’t able to prove the initial call wrong and Hanzal got his 10th goal of the year. The Coyotes went on to win the game 2-0 and after the game, Lombardi was not pleased at all with the call.
“When the guy in Toronto making the decisions on the goals, in Ottawa and the one tonight, wanted the G.M.’s job in L.A. and was not happy about not getting it, you have to assume you are going to get those type of calls,” Lombardi said. “However, we have put ourselves in a position where these calls have a monumental effect on our season, and we’re going to have to find a way out of it ourselves.”
Lombardi’s reference to Ottawa was to the Kings’ Nov. 22 game against the Senators in Ottawa, in which on-ice officials waved off Ryan Smyth’s potential game-tying goal, with three seconds remaining in the third period, and the video-review crew in Toronto did not rule it a good goal.
Dean Lombardi is generally one of the most even-keeled guys in the NHL, but with the Kings struggling, having a blowup like this isn’t exactly surprising. Still, expect the NHL to have some words for Lombardi and even a fine for snapping off. We keep thinking that something is going to happen in L.A. with the team sliding away into irrelevance and perhaps this is the kind of game that makes it happen.