The Los Angeles Kings came back from their four-game road trip to Canada on two-game losing streak. Despite that, the team had some things to be optimistic about: they were facing the lowly New York Islanders and Jonathan Quick was back from injury.
While captain Anze Kopitar was scratched for the game due to a sudden illness, it shouldn’t have put the team at a complete disadvantage.
It almost seemed as if no one from the Kings showed up by the end of the 7-2 shellacking in which they took.
Throughout the game, however, microcosms of the season revealed themselves.
Rejoice Kings fans: your long nightmare is finally over. The team has finally scored their first power play goal after starting out 0-and forever. Down 1-0 in the first period, the Kings took advantage and scored when Tyler Toffoli deflected a shot by Drew Doughty.
In the third period, down two goals, the Kings again capitalized on a penalty when Jeff Carter scored their second goal. The Kings play on the power play was vastly improved. The Toffoli goal came to fruition thanks to effective front net presence and the second goal was due to timely passes.
While struggles on the power play have been well noted this season, the Kings shortcomings on the penalty kill is even more concerning.
Last year, the Kings were the best team in penalty kill percentage at 85%. This year, however, they are a bottom five team, sitting a measly 70%.
Adrian Kempe was called for interference early on in the second period. The Kings were able to withstand the Islanders push at first. But the defense eventually broke and they gave up a power play goal, which gave New York a 2-1 lead.
The Kings have given up a power play goal in four of their last five games, which all resulted in loses. If the Kings are going to start turning things around, they have to shore up their penalty kill situation.
Down 3-1 in the third period the Kings got a two-man 5-3 power play goal. They had a chance to tie the game while still on the man-advantage. Instead, the roof caved in on them. The Islanders scored four straight goals, with the first short handed effectively ending the game.
The Kings looked slow, inept, and over-matched. Too many of the goals given up were due to mistakes and the Islanders took advantage.
This was by far the worst game the Kings have played under coach John Stevens. He is going to have figure out how to right the ship again.