LOS ANGELES (AP)—Los Angeles’ first shootout under the NHL’s new rules was exciting enough. Then the Kings had to sweat out a review of Jeremy Roenick’s goal that decided the outcome.
With fans chanting “Goal! Goal!” the referees decided in the Kings’ favor, giving them a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
“Everybody that was in this building got treated to an unbelievable hockey game and had an unbelievable afternoon, with a shootout to boot,” Roenick said. “That’s what hockey’s all about. Whoever saw their first game today is going to be addicted.”
Coach Andy Murray moved Roenick up a spot in choosing his skaters for the shootout because he liked the way Roenick energized the Kings in the second period by checking Danny Markov face-first into the boards.
“I thought he had his best game of the year and I wanted him to score,” Murray said.
Roenick skated in hard on Nashville goalie Tomas Vokoun, with his momentum sending him onto the ice and into Vokoun, who also fell over.
“I came down and went to my backhand, and then when I tried to bring it back to my forehand, I kind of lost an edge and tried to stuff it in,” Roenick said. “As I did, his pad and the puck went in at the same time. I knew I was going down, but I still had enough to push it by him.”
A video review helped referees decide that Roenick hadn’t put in his own rebound.
“The question was whether Jeremy had played it a second time, a rebound,” referee Dennis LaRue said. “I didn’t see that on the ice, and it was apparently confirmed on the replay upstairs.”
Jason LaBarbera stopped Nashville’s Simon Gamache and Marek Zidlicky in the shootout, and made a stick save on David Legwand in the five-minute overtime. He stopped 20 shots for his eighth victory of the season.
Naturally, LaBarbera isn’t a big fan of shootouts.
“But you could tell by the people in the stands how excited they were to watch it,” he said.
The Kings extended their unbeaten streak against the Predators to seven games dating to December 2002. They’ve outscored Nashville 19-5 in that stretch.
Vokoun took a shutout into the third period, but the Kings spoiled it with two goals. He made 35 saves and was convinced he stopped Roenick’s shot.
“I wasn’t sure if he carried me with the puck into the net when he went into me,” Vokoun said. “Everybody I talked to said he hit it twice, so I don’t understand why it’s a goal. We should have won that game in regulation. Then the shootout wouldn’t have been necessary.”
Nashville’s Paul Kariya, a former Anaheim star, had one shot in the rare day game.
Asked about shootouts, he said, “Look at the fans. I mean, we’re in the business of entertaining people. All the people in the building were standing. I don’t think there was anyone sitting down, and that’s what the league wants.”
Jeremy Stevenson scored Nashville’s first goal at Staples Center since Dec. 5, 2002, when the puck slipped in between the post and LaBarbera’s skate 1 1/2 minutes into the game. The Predators had been shut out in their two previous visits to Los Angeles.
Martin Erat extended Nashville’s lead to 2-0 at 8:30 of the first with his fourth goal in his last six games.
The Kings failed to score when they twice had two-man advantages in the first and second periods.
Kings C Sean Avery was ejected late in the first for checking Gamache from behind. … The Predators have not scored a power-play goal in their last three games. … Los Angeles is 7-3-0 at home this season. … The Predators went 0-3 on their West Coast swing.