LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings just can not build momentum.
On Saturday, the Kings edged the New York Rangers. Their next game against one of the worst teams in the league (points-wise last), the San Jose Sharks, was a prime opportunity to start a winning streak. Despite the chance, the Kings fell 4-3 after a penalty shootout.
The loss is their 11th in their last 13 games, as the team has plummeted down the standings. Many of such games have been tight, but the Kings have failed to win them.
“Three [goals] should be plenty for us right now,” McLellan said. “It’s not often we get three or four the way we’re scoring right now… We’re chasing it both ways. We try to fix the offense, and there’s something going wrong with the defense, and vice versa.”
The Kings started the game against the Sharks with conviction, generating many chances. In the first period, they had 18 shots, some from solid angles, but failed to convert. Their failure to score led to a Sharks lead.
The Sharks found the back of the net first in the middle of the second period despite having 11 fewer shots than the Kings at that point. Minutes later, they added another, putting the Kings in a two-goal hole to climb out of.
Nonetheless, the Kings continued creating chances, and late in the second period, they were rewarded. There, Trevor Moore scored his 21st goal of the season after using his pace to beat a defender.
The Kings tied the game early in the third period when Adrian Kempe threaded a pass to Quinton Byfield, who scored.
Despite the comeback, the Sharks regained a lead, 3-2, shortly after. The Kings tied again on the power play when Drew Doughty fired a shot on the power play with just under 2 minutes left in the game.
Still, the Kings lost in the penalty shootout. Goaltender David Rittich broke his stick after the shootout finished, displaying some of what the team is probably feeling during this stretch.
“I wouldn’t say the season is slipping away, but I would say that there is concern and that there is some frustration,” said head coach Todd McLellan.
Rittich started his third consecutive game and seventh of the 2023-24 season. He allowed three goals on 27 shots.
Next, the Kings face the Buffalo Sabres for Anze Kopitar Milestone Night. It is a chance for them to get back in the win column.