Kings vs. Golden Knights: Concern about team regression in 6-2 loss

LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) /

The LA Kings haven’t made the necessary steps in their rebuild in this second half, and Wednesday’s loss to Vegas proved just that.

While the LA Kings may have looked good in their Reverse Retros uniforms, the product on the ice was another story in Wednesday’s 6-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

“Quite concerned,” Todd McLellan said regarding the team’s regression in the second half.

“At times, we’re overworking. We’re like kids on a soccer field, and the open man is killing us,” McLellan added.

The Golden Knights jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals from Tomas Nosek and Alex Tuch approximately four minutes apart.

Trevor Moore got the Kings on the board, a powerplay goal sniped on net and bounced right back out just as fast as it came, resulting in some confusion.

Just under two minutes later, Max Pacioretty dumped a bouncing back in from the blue line and somehow got past Jonathan Quick.

Quick was pulled from the game after that and was replaced with Cal Petersen.

As a sidebar, if you’re the Kings, I think you have to let Petersen finish out the rest of the season, with no more 50-50 goaltending splits. Quick just doesn’t seem to give the team any chance, and Petersen has waited long enough for this moment.

Vegas took a 3-1 lead into the first intermission and extended the lead to three on a Chandler Stephenson goal at the 15:47 mark of the middle frame.

“The disappointment in our group is pretty evident,” McLellan added. “We have so many things to fix and so little time. From their perspective, that’s what a real good team looks like.”

Moore added his second goal of the game in the latter stages of the second period, his seventh of the season. He’s been one of the most consistent players on the ice this season, and he’s being rewarded for it now, seeing time on the Kings powerplay unit.

Vegas effectively put this game out of reach in the final frame, with goals from Mark Stone and Alex Pietrangelo, and the schedule doesn’t get any easier from here.

The Kings will travel to Colorado for a two-game set against the Avalanche beginning on Friday night. Colorado is 18-4-2 at home this season, and they’ve won nine of their last ten games. Expect more of the same, as the Kings look like they’re headed for another top-five pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.