Another test and another massive failure for the Los Angeles Kings. After a strong performance in Ottawa Tuesday, the Kings continue their trend of inconsistent play against the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday. Losing 5-0.
The Kings were second-best from the first puck drop and were lucky to be tied after the first period. The pressure finally broke the King's defense in the second though. With a 1:06 flurry putting the Leafs up 3-0. Toronto added one more goal in the second, a Mitch Marner goal that brought his point streak to 21 games. And a fifth goal in the third period, routing the Kings.
"We just didn't play nearly as good as we needed to, obviously," said Anze Kopitar. "I mean, even after the first period it was 0-0, but in large part thanks to Quickie (Jonathan Quick), quite frankly all of the credit goes to him. We weren't good enough."
The Kings were given life after Pierre Engvall was given a five-minute game misconduct for an intent to injure penalty. Adrian Kempe thought he got the Kings on the board, beating Samsonov on the power play, but the goal was called back for offsides. The Kings wouldn't register an official shot on the five-minute power play.
It was a terrible night for the Kings. No line that played more than five minutes together posted positive analytics except the Kevin Fiala-Anze Kopitar-Arthur Kaliyev line. Who posted positive possession numbers. None of their defensive pairings posted positive numbers, and Jonathan Quick finished with a sub-.900 save percentage and negative goals saved above-expected numbers again.
Everything that could go wrong for the Kings, went wrong Thursday night. They lost the battle in every phase of the game. Toronto was faster, more physical and more committed all game.
"It was obviously both," said Todd McLellan when asked if the Kings were lacking in the mental or physical side of the game. "I think you've got to have on to have the other, and the mental part isn't there, there's no way the physical part will be there. It was both, I thought we were light and slow in the first period. Weren't winning any races and when we did even come close to winning any of them we were real light on our sticks and light in body positions. And it kept on going all night."
The Kings have to find a way to string together a consistent run of games. If they don't, they'll slowly drift outside of the playoff picture as teams catch up to them in games played.
The Kings head to Montreal on Saturday for the first of back-to-back games.