One of the most bizarre and frustrating a hockey games the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings can remember playing in years ended, fittingly enough, in controversy.
It started out that way, too. And, frankly, the middle was all controversial, too.
But when the screaming finally stopped, the Edmonton Oilers had somehow pulled out a 2-1 overtime victory from the flaming train wreck of officiating at Rexall Place.
"If we do end up making the season special, I think this is a night that we can look back as being the start of it," said Edmonton winger Taylor Hall, after Nail Yakpov scored with 4.7 seconds left in regulation and Sam Gagner won it in overtime. "I know it's only the third game, but for us to show the wherewithal to stick with it was very impressive."
Both sides were fuming all night as referees Tom Kowal and Greg Kimmerly made a royal mess of things. The Oilers played shorthanded for 10 of the first 14 minutes and had what should have been a good goal wiped out by a phantom goaltender interference call in the final minute.
The Kings, meanwhile, were given nine minors, including the one that set up Edmonton's power play winner in overtime.
"We score with a minute left in the game and it's waved off," said Oilers defenseman Ladislav Smid. "Then we score again with 4.7 seconds left on the clock. It was a bizarre night, honestly for both teams, but I'm glad we were able to come back and win it.
"I think we showed lots of character."
The Kings, who are now 0-3 on the season, were bitter on a lot of fronts.
"We just couldn't finish," said center Jarret Stoll. "We made a couple of mistakes and they capitalized. It was a weird, weird game. It was an odd one.
"But we can't feel sorry for ourselves, we have to get it together and get two points."
LA opened the scoring on a breakaway goal from Jeff Carter at 13:26 of the second and nursed that lead till the final minute of the third. The Oilers scored once, but it didn't count, so they scored again, with Yakupov skating the length of the ice, sliding 30 feet on his knees and rolling on the ground in joy.
A little much, if you ask the Kings.
"It wasn't something that was looked upon in a positive light," said Stoll. "But so be it. He made a good play."
NOTES: Oilers winger Magnus Paajarvi moved up to the third line with Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff while Teemu Hartikainen dropped down to the fourth with Eric Belanger and Lennart Petrell. ... Just three games into the season, Dustin Penner was a healthy scratch for the Kings, a tough pill considering Edmonton is his old team. ... Simon Gagne also sat in the press box as Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter tries to coax some more production out of his top six forwards. ... Oilers defenseman Ladislav Smid took 23 minutes in penalties in the first period -- crosschecking, closing his hand on the puck, instigating, instigating with a visor, fighting and a 10-minute misconduct. ... The referees called 12 minor penalties in the first 27 minutes.