Kings Drop Second in a Row With 3-1 Loss
Different game, same result. A contest Tuesday night in Colorado did little to propel the Los Angeles Kings into the win column, and with the 3-1 loss the defending champions' record stands at a middling 0-2.
Kyle Clifford picked up his first goal of the season in the waning moments of the first period. A juicy rebound plopped right on his stick and ultimately into the back of the net after a Jordan Nolan slap shot. For Sergei Varlamov, it was the most out-of-place he would be all night, who ferociously buckled down the rest of the way despite his team being in the hole most of the evening.
Jonathan Quick stopped twenty-eight shots, nineteen of which came amid a flurry of scoring chances in the first two periods. Each time Quick stood up to the task and hardly allowed a secondary or rebound opportunity for the opposition. That all changed pretty quickly however with three Colorado goals in less than nine minutes during the final frame. Newly crowned captain Gabriel Landeskog, David Jones, and P.J. Parenteau all collected their first tallies on the year in rapid succession. A handful of unfortunate bounces, two off the boards and one off a skate, kept Quick out of position each time and the Kings' deficit grow.
Despite the return of all-star Anze Kopitar, who missed the season opener thanks to a sprained knee suffered in his European lockout travels, the Kings' offense was unable to muster much of anything down the stretch. For a team which was so hot during last year's Stanley Cup Final run (only four losses in the postseason ties the record for the quickest road to a title), they seemed lost at times, save for a odd-man rushes that were quickly swallowed up by Varlamov. Kopitar failed to register a shot in nearly twenty minutes of ice time and finished the contest with a -1.
Head coach Darryl Sutter shook off questions regarding his level of concern with the team at this point in the season during postgame. Which should hardly be surprising, even with that big 0 in the win column still staring right back at this Los Angeles squad. Still, every loss hurts twice as much in a shortened season, and the Kings' are now forced to look up at Anaheim and San Jose's current unblemished records. They'll get their first crack at a division rival Saturday night in Phoenix, with games against the aforementioned division leaders stacked tightly, for the most part, towards the back-end of the schedule.
The team travels next to 1-1 Edmonton on Thursday night.