The LA Kings dropped the first game against the San Jose Sharks on Monday night, logging just one goal despite many chances to score.
Frustrating. Unbelievable. Inexcusable. All words to describe the LA Kings 2-1 loss against the San Jose Sharks on Monday night. The Kings entered the night five points out of a playoff spot in the West Division. With both Arizona and St. Louis falling to their respective opponents, it was a great opportunity for Todd McLellan’s group to move up in the standings.
You look at the team statistics in this one — Kings outshot the Sharks 42-23, five power play opportunities, and only having to kill two penalties — usually a winning formula. However, the Kings went 0-for-5 on the power play, but they killed off both penalties, marking the eighth-straight game to not allow a goal on the PK.
Since March 6, the Kings have killed off 18-of-19 power play chances, tops in the league over that span.
Logan Couture netted the game’s first goal 8:22 into the opening period. The 31-year-old fired a shot towards Jonathan Quick from the left sideboards, bouncing off both the Kings’ netminder and defenseman Kurtis MacDermid and finding the back of the net.
The Sharks took a 1-0 lead into the locker room after the first period, and it took nearly another full period of play before the LA Kings finally scored. Matt Roy, fresh off his new three-year contract extension, blasted the puck from the point, sailing through the Sharks defense and past netminder Martin Jones.
Drew Doughty has been the primary goalscorer along the blue line, but between Sunday and Monday’s games, the Kings’ received goal contributions from Sean Walker and Roy, a point of emphasis lately for Todd McLellan.
“I know there’s been some talk about the lack of offensive production from our D men, but they do create opportunities a lot by getting the pucks there,” McLellan explained. “They’re not always the ones scoring, but they do create.”
The Sharks took back the lead 3:48 into the final frame, a wraparound attempt by Ryan Donato that bounced off MacDermid’s skate and into the net. If you’re scoring at home, twice MacDermid helped the Sharks’ goals get past Quick.
The Kings certainly had their chances in this game, as noted by their five powerplay opportunities. They just failed to convert on any of them. For a team that’s been so good in this department in the 2021 season, it was frustrating to watch, especially against a team beneath them in the standings.
In the final four minutes, the LA Kings turned up the pressure, with Anze Kopitar hitting the post on a puck that went through Jones’ legs. And in the waning seconds of the game, the Kings had their best scoring chance of the game with Kopitar’s stick lifted on what would have been a wide-open net. Even in the final five seconds, the Kings had a great chance to score with Alex Iafallo in front of the net.
“It wasn’t in waves, but every now and then, we got a good grade-A opportunity, and, you know, we just didn’t find the net,” McLellan said of his team’s scoring chances. “We hit a post. We had an open net at the end. Even with 0.2 seconds left, we’re staring at the goaltender and couldn’t get the puck up…Sometimes it’s not your night, and yet you put in a pretty good effort.”
Overall, it was a very difficult loss to stomach, especially with, as noted, Arizona and St. Louis losing. Jonathan Quick, by no means, played poorly. The 35-year-old stopped 21-of-23 shots, but the Kings couldn’t get anything past Martin Jones, who entered the night with a .890 SV% and 3.45 GAA.
LA Kings Schedule
The Kings and Sharks will wrap up their two-game series on Wednesday night. We’re starting to reach that critical point of the season where these losses are ones you look back on at the end of the year if you fall short of the playoffs. I suppose on the bright side, the Kings didn’t lose any ground.
Puck drop is set for 7:30 pm PT from the SAP Center on Wednesday.