Yikes. How you lose a game when you double the other team in shots is beyond me. However, that’s exactly what the Kings did Sunday night in Denver, as the Kings dropped their second game of the weekend and fall to 6-3-2 on the year.
Jonathan Quick started again tonight after playing yesterday, and that ended up being the wrong decision. He was not as bad as one would think when you see that he gave up three goals on 16 shots, as really only one of them you could blame him on, the first one, as he overcommitted on Chuck Kobasew as he then scored a shorthanded wraparound goal, as Quick wasn’t able to get back over to the other side of the net in time. The second goal, was an incredibly unlucky bounce off the boards after Quick went behind the net to play the dump in, and it bounced out in front and Milan Hejduk had an empty net. The third goal, came off a nice shot from Matt Duchene after Drew Doughty turned it over. Could Quick have made the save and bailed out Doughty? Perhaps, but it would have taken a very nice save, and that goal was Doughty’s fault, not his.
The Kings outshot the Avalanche 32-16, and were outshooting them 26-9 after two periods, but they leave with nothing to show for it. Not even a single consolation point like they got in Phoenix last night. Here’s an interesting stat, that you hope is a coincidence. The Kings are 0-1-1 since Drew Doughty came back, and 1-2-2 with him on the season. They’re 5-0-1 without him. Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but he is not playing well at all right now. He’s not looking like a guy who should have been holding out through training camp to get a monster contract. But again, it’s going to take him a while to get into his zone, but it’s going to be frustrating before he gets there.
After his three-game shutout streak, Jonathan Quick has now surrendered three goals in each of his last three games, proving that he is indeed human. I thought Bernier should have started tonight, and who knows if there’s a different outcome if he did, but I do think he should start on Thursday when the Kings host the Oilers. Yeah, the Kings don’t play in the next three days so Quick should be fresh, but Quick has started nine of the Kings’ 11 games so far, so it’s time for Bernier to get into a game.
This is a tough one to swallow for sure. The Kings end up going 1-1-1 and record just three of six points on a road trip through Dallas, Phoenix, and Colorado. Definitely could have gotten more points. What makes it even tougher to swallow, is that both losses were caused by fluke bounces. Daymond Langkow’s overtime goal yesterday went in off of Jack Johnson’s stick, and then of course the fluke goal today that bounced off the boards. If not for a couple of bad bounces, perhaps the Kings have a perfect road trip. But they don’t, and have now dropped three of their last four games.
Another tough loss, especially since the Kings won’t get a shot at redemption for a while because they don’t play again until Thursday, but let’s quickly recap the game before we put it behind us…
1st period: The Kings took a couple of early penalties — not something you want to do against the #1 ranked power play in the NHL — but killed both of them off. Then when the Kings got a power play, the Avalanche scored a shorthanded goal at the 6:55 mark. Chuck Kobasew carried the puck down the right side, and Jonathan Quick overcommitted and then Kobasew took it around the net and shot it into an empty net on the wraparound. It was his second of the year, and Gabriel Landeskog and Kyle Quincey picked up assists. Then just 27 seconds later at the the 7:22 mark, the Kings scored on that very same power play, after Jarret Stoll’s blast was stopped by Semyon Varlamov but Scott Parse was their to knock it out of the air for his second goal of the year, and second in three games. It was the first time that the Kings had scored a goal in the first period in six games. The Kings outshot the Avalanche 11-5, and went 1-for-1 on the power play, while the Avalanche went 0-for-2 but had a shorthanded goal.
2nd period: The game remained tied until the 9:04 mark of the period, when David Jones dumped it around the boards and Quick went to the back of the net to play it, but before it got to him, it took a bad hop off the boards and went right out in front to Milan Hejduk who had an empty net to put it in for his fourth goal of the year. Kyle Quincey also got an assist, his second of the night. The goal came with Scott Parse in the penalty box, who really needs to stop taking so many penalties. The Kings got a lengthy 5-on-3 late in the frame, and capitalized at the 18:44 mark, when Drew Doughty took a shot from the point, Dustin Brown poked at it, and then Anze Kopitar knocked it in from the side of the net for his second goal in as many days and his sixth on the season. The Kings outshot the Avalanche 15-4 in the period, but the scoring was equal. Colorado went 1-for-1 on the power play, while Los Angeles went 1-for-2.
3rd period: At the 1:52 mark, Drew Doughty tried to clear it down the ice but didn’t get it very far and Matt Duchene ended up with it in the neutral zone and came in and wired a wrist shot past Quick’s glove for his second goal of the year. David Jones picked up an assist, his second of the night. The Kings killed off a late penalty, and then got a power play in the last minute and pulled Quick to get a 6-on-4 advantage, but couldn’t get the equalizer as they fell 3-2 in regulation. Each team went 0-for-1 on the power play, while the Kings went 2-for-4 on the night, and the Avs went 1-for-4, and had a shorthanded goal. The Avalanche outshot the Kings 7-6 in the 3rd, but the Kings doubled them in shots on the night, 32-16.
So after a disappointing road trip, the Kings will get a few days to think about it before hosting the surprising, red-hot Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night at Staples Center. Hopefully the Kings will regain the services of Simon Gagne, who they did not fare well without. Look for a game preview to come sometime in the next few days, Thursday at the latest, but it will come before the puck drops at 10:30 PM ET/7:30 PM PT at Staples Center.