Before the game, I said this would be a test for the Los Angeles Kings. And, the Kings failed that test to the tune of a 4-2 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Up 3-0 after the second period, the Hurricanes had the LA Kings at arm's length after two periods. A late push thanks to an Arthur Kaliyev power-play goal and Samuel Fagemo's first career goal made the game interesting. But the Hurricanes held on to win comfortably.
"They're (Hurricanes) a tough team to play against," said Todd McLellan. "They play at a high pace both with and without the puck, which makes them hard in all three zones. I thought we were prepared for it, it took us a little while to figure it out. But, when you fall behind with that kind of pressure to it's tough to come back. We were hurt tonight by long plays, stuff leaving their end, and getting skated. Again, we knew that was going to be part of their game, but they still executed it. When we had those opportunities we didn't quite finish on them. So, as a result, you end up with the result we got."
In a game with very few positives, Fagemo grabbing the first goal of his career is a big one. After registering his first career point Thursday night, he capitalized on a partial breakaway and beat Pyotr Kochetkov over the glove with a nice backhand forehand move. This goal also came after Fagemo beat Kochetkov over the shoulder on a breakaway and rang the post.
"For sure it was a fun experience for me," said Fagemo. "I think I got a really good pass up the middle and I got the second breakaway of the game, so I tried to be more patient and then saw the puck go in. Of course, it was a special feeling but it sucked that the team lost."
Fagemo also took us through the decision to make a move on Kochetkov instead of shooting the second time around.
"I think I saw some space to shoot it, but I think the first one was bad luck. Hit the post and then you have to try something new. It was of course fun to see the second one go in."
The goal is great for Fagemo and something the whole team can enjoy, but they're past the point of moral victories. They've lost 7 of their last 10 and have to re-find their game soon.
They haven't played anywhere near the level expected of them recently and looked lost for large parts of Saturday's game. The Kings still have plenty of room before things become disastrous, but still searching for consistency 27 games in is a big concern.
The Kings kick off a six-game road trip Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators.