The Los Angeles Kings had their four-game win streak snapped Friday, falling to the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 in a shootout.
No team will be welcoming the holiday break like the Kings. They've played more games than any other team up to this point. Just finished a set of back-to-backs that saw them travel in between games. And have gone to overtime in four of their last five.
That's a lot of hockey.
The Kings got into penalty trouble early, taking four penalties in under three minutes. The Coyotes took advantage on a 5-on-3, with Nick Schmaltz beating Quick off a nice backdoor feed from Clayton Keller.
The Kings tied the game in the second period with Alex Iafallo doing his best Arthur Kaliyev impersonation. Firing a one-timer past Karel Vajmelka from the right circle.
The third period was a fairly uneventful one that saw no goals.
The Kings continued their penalty struggles in overtime with Drew Doughty taking a tripping penalty just 30 seconds in. The Kings killed that penalty and spent most of the extra frame pinned into their own zone after the game was evened up. Jonathan Quick came up with a few massive saves to take the game into a shootout.
The Kings failed to score in the shootout, making Nick Bjugstad's lone goal enough to earn Arizona the full two points.
This intense schedule makes it difficult to be overly critical of this loss. Even though it came against a rebuilding team near the bottom of the league. Given the context, earning a point in this game is a positive.
"I thought it was a gutsy point by our team," said Todd McLellan. "Gas tanks were running low and they check very well and it was a gutsy one by our team. Quick played well, there's a lot of clog up of the neutral zone by both teams, there's not a lot of free play. Penalties affected our start, at least our first period, the last thing we needed to do after basically playing three lines yesterday was to play basically six players for five minutes straight. But that's what happened today, penalties played a big part. I thought in the second, third we settled in and did a lot of things we wanted to do, but just couldn't find the net.
Another positive was the performance of Quick in net. He finished with a .958 save percentage, 1.66 goals saved above expected and saved two of three shots in the shootout. It was just his fourth game giving up one or fewer goals and his first start in six that he posted above a .900 save percentage.
They couldn't provide the run support Quick needed but it was a better defensive performance in front of Quick.
"It all goes together, our group owed Quickie a good honest effort and a checking effort, effort with a conscious," said McLellan. "And we got that today and in return, he paid back the guys with some pretty big and timely saves. Not a lot of them, but timely ones when we needed them."
The Kings will be off through the 26th for the holiday break and are back on the ice on Dec. 27, when they take on the Vegas Golden Knights.