Kings Game 74 Plus/Minuses: Korpisalo Solid Despite Loss, Third Pairing Struggles
If they can create that many chances, they’ll score more than once in most games.
The Los Angeles Kings have finally lost a game in regulation.
Their 2-1 loss against the Calgary Flames is the Kings' first regulation loss in over a month and marks some revenge for Calgary after being hammered by the Kings 8-2 last week.
The Kings weren't at their best on Tuesday and weren't helped by a fantastic performance from Jakub Markstrom in net for the Flames.
Here are some pluses and minuses from Tuesday's loss.
It wasn't a great performance overall from the Kings. No one really stood out as having a particularly great game, except the man between the pipes.
Things weren't looking great for Joonas Korpisalo in the first. After going down 1-0 early, Korpisalo was beat on a tame shot low blocker to make it 2-0 early. The game was in danger of getting away from the Kings early, but Korpisalo was saved by an offside challenge.
A second goal eventually beat Korpisalo after an unfortunate bounce off the end board and was dialed after that.
He made several key saves in the game.
Stoning Tyler Toffoli in front, Korpisalo stood his ground and showed off impressive strength to keep the puck out.
He ended the game with 30 saves and 1.50 goals saved above expected.
Despite the loss, performances like that can create separation between him and Pheonix Copley as the Kings search for their game one starter.
If he can turn it on down the stretch, the Kings become a very dangerous team.
– The Third Pair
It's probably a little harsh to have Sean Durzi involved in the negative column after his snipe to tie the game midway through the first.
But outside of that goal, his pairing alongside Alex Edler spent a large portion of the game hemmed in.
That pairing was out-chanced 18-5 and outshot 18-7.
Edler looked a little behind the pace Tuesday, raising some concerns about his ability to keep up down the stretch when the pace is raised.
He's certainly lost a step and Edler didn't have a step to lose.
He's still an experienced player who can provide value in other areas, but a Durzi-Sean Walker pairing might be the best option down the stretch.
The aggressive role asked of the left-defensemen in the Kings' system is tough for Edler given his lack of mobility right now and his limitations were on display Tuesday.
+ The Fourth Line
To be clear, the fourth line wasn't perfect Tuesday. Their stats don't point to a great game and were on the ice for the eventual game winning goal.
But, there were also on the ice for the Kings' only goal in the game. And create a few quality chances and drew two penalties.
A big reason for their place rating was the individual performances from each player.
Arthur Kaliyev, who's been a healthy scratch recently, came back in with something to prove.
He grabbed a primary assist on the Kings' only goal with a nice touch pass to set up Durzi in the slot. And was more engaged in board battles than we've seen from him.
His big chance came in the second, bullying his way off the wall and into a decent shooting spot around the bottom of the faceoff circle. Jacob Markstrom fought it off, but it was the kind of play you want to see more of from Kaliyev. And the type of play Todd McLellan has asked to see more off.
Carl Grundstrom continued his solid play, once again the most physical Kings forward. He was robbed by the post in the second and took a strong drive to the net that drew a penalty in the third period.
Rasmus Kupari also continued his solid play. He was good in the faceoff circle and used his legs to his advantage all night. He had a big chance shorthanded that Markstrom denied. But he's continued to grow into his role and show off more confidence with the puck.
– The Kings' Offense
Markstrom was stellar Tuesday, no question.
But the Kings' offense also should have done more.
Kevin Fiala had a clean breakaway from the blue line in that he couldn't finish. Kupari's chance was well stopped by Markstrom, but is a chance you need to convert on. And Adrian Kempe fanned on a one-timer attempt late in the game, just to name a few missed opportunities.
In a game where you have 33 shots and 10 high-danger chances, you have to score more than just one goal.
The Kings have scored an astonishing 30 goals in their last five games though, so a game where the finishing dried up isn't too surprising.
It's not something the Kings should be too worried about, scoring goals hasn't bee a problem at all this season and I don't imagine it starts now.
If they can create that many chances, they'll score more than once in most games.
A little more accuracy on a few chances and the Kings could have come away winners on Tuesday. But it was a rare game where the offense let them down.