LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings just can not get back on track.
Entering Thursday, they lost three straight games (two of them finishing close). Early on, it looked like such fate would change as the Kings came out firing with two goals on Thursday. However, from there, much of their play looked too much like the previous few games. They lost to the Detroit Red Wings in a penalty shootout, 4-3.
One of the main reasons for the recent troubles is the lack of conversion on the power play. The Kings entered Thursday with one power-play goal on 20 attempts. Thursday was no different as they failed to score on two tries, allowing the Red Wings to come back from a two-goal deficit instead of putting them away. The Kings generated some solid chances but failed to finish.
“We didn’t get anything on the powerplay tonight. We had some chances, though. That has to be improved in these next six games on the road,” said head coach Todd McLellan.
The Kings opened the game’s scoring with two goals in less than five minutes. The first came when Quinton Byfield threaded the puck through to Alex Laferriere, who passed it to Adrian Kempe in front of the net, who scored.
Shortly after, Anze Kopitar fired a shot off Red Wings goaltender Alex Lyon’s pads, and Matt Roy rebounded it for the goal. 2-0, Kings.
The Red Wings responded with three goals before the Kings tied the game late in the third period. Pierre Luc-Dubois found Kempe, who scored.
Ultimately, the Kings lost the penalty shootout, making their losing streak four games. Kempe felt the team played solidly enough to win the game but only left with one point. Dubois, Laferriere, and Kempe led the team with two points each.
“I thought tonight was a step in the right direction in comparison to what we had versus Toronto (Maple Leafs) on Tuesday,” McLellan said. “It was real good start. Second, they (the Red Wings) skated a little bit. We had to chase him for a while. I thought our third was, other than giving up the goal, we didn’t we didn’t give up much, so we were really aggressive there. We found a way to get back into it. Shootout is not treating us real well right now. We’re not getting any saves. We’re not scoring goals. So the combination of those two things are a disaster in the shootout.”
Goaltender David Rittich started his third game in goal. He made a few clutch saves in overtime to keep the scoreline level, sending the game to penalties where they lost. Overall, he allowed three goals on 43 shots.
Also of note was that the game was Dodgers Night. The ticket pack, including a co-branded jersey, sold out as many wore their new jersey during the game. Dodgers star Mookie Betts performed the puck drop, and pitcher Walker Buehler banged the drum ahead of the game.
Next, the Kings play the Washington Capitals on Sunday, the start of a six-game road trip where they will look to get back on track.