Tired Kings Lose in OT, 2-1

Originally chosen by the Kings 30th overall in 1996, Josh Green scores against his former team to give his current one a 1-0 lead. (photo courtesy of NHL.com)

Playing in their second game in less than twenty-four hours, the Kings looked like the very personification of road-weary. Any spark—any offensive pushed was muffled just as quickly as it started. The team managed only 21 shots on goal en route to a 2-1 overtime loss in Edmonton last night.

Justin Williams earned a high-sticking minor in the extra frame which led to a goal by Taylor Hall to seal the victory for the Oilers, only their second win of the month. Jonathan Quick was solid in net at the other end of the ice, stopping thirty one of the thirty three shots he faced, but it was once again simply not enough.

Edmonton opened the game’s scoring in the first period with a goal from journeyman (and once upon a time former Kings draft pick) Josh Green. It was a tally that Los Angeles wouldn’t respond to until the fourteen minute mark of the third period. Williams found the back of the net with a pretty deflection (his seventh of the season) from Slava Voynov. Also assisting on the goal was Anze Kopitar, who in the process grabbed his four-hundredth career NHL point. The twenty-four-year-old Yugoslavian continues to lead the team in points—he has fourteen goals and twenty-eight assists on the season.

However, Williams’ late goal would do little more than send the game into overtime and the net the Kings an additional point before they squandered the contest three minutes into OT. The Kings have more overtime/shoot-out losses (9) than any other team in the league, which speaks volumes about the stellar goaltending they have received all year from Quick and Jonathan Bernier. Without those extra nine points, the Kings would be hard-pressed to find themselves on the playoff bubble, much less entirely relevant this late into the season.

Nonetheless, the team escapes their two-day road-trip to Alberta with three of a possible four points, which has to be commended for something. And furthermore (and somewhat miraculously) Los Angeles now sits at 7-1-5 under Darryl Sutter, a point streak that has kept them afloat and nipping at the heels of San Jose, who leads the Pacific division by a mere two points (although they also have four games in hand, but as far as the Kings are concerned that is neither here or there).

Up next for the Kings, beside some rest and a day off for the road-trip home, is a date with Vancouver Tuesday at the Staples Center. The defending Western Conference champs come into town leading their own division, but nonetheless reeling after a loss to Anaheim last Friday night.