The Kings have had many unpleasant days the last two seasons and Friday managed to find its way onto the list. Hours before the loss to the Flyers in the home opener, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi spoke with reporters for the first time since the team put its franchise goalie, Quick, on injured reserve.
Lombardi made it clear from his brief comments after the morning skate that there is serious concern about the injury, which was sustained in the final 30 seconds of the season opener Wednesday at San Jose. The next step for Quick is to get opinions from several doctors and how best to proceed with treatment and rehabilitation. It sounded as though the injury, while not exactly the same as Quick’s groin injury in 2013, is in a similar area.
If this was a preview of what the next few weeks — or perhaps longer — will look like without Quick, it was an uninviting snapshot.
After a scoreless first period, the Flyers scored four times in the second, including two goals in 48 seconds. One goal came off a bad line change by the Kings. Later, on the Flyers’ fourth goal, defenseman Mark Streit banked in a shot off Kings goalie Jeff Zatkoff.
Sean Couturier scored twice for the Flyers. Nick Cousins had two assists, as did Travis Konecny.
The Kings’ goals came from their defensemen. Drew Doughty’s shot from the left point made its way through traffic past Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth with 1:08 remaining in the second, to cut the Flyers’ lead to 4-1. Brayden McNabb pulled the Kings within two when his shot went in off Philadelphia’s Streit at 3:01 of the third.
“They had a lot of momentum in that second period and it kind of started with their first goal,” Doughty said. “Not that we got down on ourselves on the bench but that’s kind of what it seemed like. After that, Zats kept making big save after big save. Then eventually he can’t be saving everything for us.
“Eventually, they’re going to go in. Tonight is completely on all the guys, except for Zats. I thought he played a great game. Nothing to blame on any of those goals. It’s all on us.”
In two games, the Kings have been outscored, 6-3. Last season, they lost their first three games —to San Jose, Arizona and Vancouver — and were outscored, 12-2.
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter was asked about losing the first two games.
“Damn right it matters to me,” Sutter said. “My mind-set would be to go 80-2.”
Kings captain Anze Kopitar was asked about the mind-set in playing without Quick for perhaps an extended period.
“We’re going to go and win games,” Kopitar said. “Yeah, he’s a big part of this team and arguably the best goalie in the NHL. But we can’t do anything about it. A magic spell won’t bring him back. We’ve got to play with what we’ve got and play hard and a lot better than we did tonight.”
For Zatkoff, it was a tough home debut with the Kings. He was a third-round draft pick by the Kings in 2006, and ended up with the Pittsburgh organization and played 35 NHL regular-season games for the Penguins. He signed with the Kings as a free agent in July.
“They got to their game in the second. We kind of sat back out our heels,” Zatkoff said. “We never really found it in the second until we came back in here and regrouped. After that, we had a good third. But it’s too late.
“You’ve got to play 60 minutes in this league. You can’t give up four goals in a period. That’s the difference in the game.”
Sutter didn’t complain about the goalie: “In the first period he made two big saves on our penalty kill to keep it 0-0 going into the second. The first two goals were odd-man rushes. He gave us a chance.”
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