For the second straight game, the Los Angeles Kings struggled to generate offense and couldn't solve a hot goalie. Losing to the Edmonton Oilers 2-0.
The game started out tough for the Kings.
Just 1:28 in, Connor McDavid leveled Mikey Anderson from behind, taking Anderson out of the game.
Given that McDavid clearly drove through Anderson's numbers and Anderson's injury, it seemed like McDavid's night would be ended early. But the refs decided to just give him a two-minute minor.
The Kings were unable to score on the ensuing power play and were down to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.
For most of the first period it seemed like both teams were feeling each other out, but Evander Kane got the Oilers on the board late.
After a nifty play from Leon Draisaitl, picking up the puck in his feet and immediately throwing a backhand spin pass to Kane. Kane fired a one-timer past Joonas Korpisalo. Kane was also helped by a deflection of Vladislav Gavrikov.
The second period was fairly low-event. Korpisalo and Stuart Skinner were both dialed and neither team could find an opening.
The Kings' best chance of the game came off Adrian Kempe's stick.
Sean Durzi found Kempe streaking up the middle and after fighting off a defenseman, Kempe was all alone with Skinner.
Kempe moved to his backhand and had a good chance to finish, but Skinner stuck the pad out and robbed him.
The Kings next best chance came from Rasmus Kupari. Kupari came flying down the wing on a two-on-one and toe-dragged to the middle after the Oilers defensemen laid down to block the pass. Kupari was wide open in the slot, but put the puck into Skinner's chest.
It was equal parts a poor shot from Kupari and good piece of positioning from Skinner.
The Kings took their only two penalties in the second but did well to kill them both off.
Korpisalo stood tall on both kills and denied the league's best power play.
It was a tight game heading into the third, but the Kings were still in it.
They got a huge chance early in the first, with Nick Bjugstad taking a penalty just 2:36 in.
On the ensuing power play, Durzi made an ill-advised pass to the middle that McDavid intercepted. After easily beating a flatfooted Viktor Arvidsson at the point, McDavid had a breakaway from his own blue line and made no mistake beating Korpisalo over the glove.
It was McDavid's 61st of the season and a backbreaker for the Kings.
The Kings through the kitchen sink at the Oilers in the third and peppered Skinner with 19 shots, but couldn't find the net.
Skinner made a few stellar saves and got some help from the post after Kempe beat him on a one-timer, earning Skinner his first shutout of the season.
This game was a massive test for the Kings, but I'm not sure we learned a ton.
Without Gabe Vilardi, Kevin Fiala, and for most of the game, Mikey Anderson, it's hard to take too much away from this game.
One big takeaway is the performance of Korpisalo. Despite back-to-back losses, Korpisalo has played great in both games and is making a strong case to be the starter for game one.
He's allowed just two goals in both games, which on a normal night for this Kings offense, should be enough to win games.
There was also a clear message of trust sent by Todd McLellan. The Kings' fourth line saw just under three minutes of five-on-five action Thursday, with Anze Kopitar and Phil Danault both playing over 20 minutes.
McLellan doesn't trust anyone but those two to matchup with McDavid and Draisaitl and is going to put a lot of burden on Kopitar and Danault in a potential playoff series.
I don't think that's a wise choice from McLellan, but I understand it.
The Kings are back in action for another divisional game Saturday, taking on the Seattle Kraken.