The beginning of the John Stevens era wasn’t pretty. It was actually ugly in the final 20 minutes.
Goalie Jonathan Quick looked to be in midseason form with a 35-save shutout that stood in polar opposite to his serious groin injury on opening night last season, which kept him out for four months.
Here’s what we learned:
The defense is ahead of the offense. After so much chatter about more offensive possibilities, the Kings never quite clicked aside from the fourth line of Kyle Clifford, Nick Shore and Trevor Lewis that produced their first goal.
Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli teamed for a goal as well, but there were too many broken-up plays and stoppages in the offensive zone and not enough extended pressure. The game had 73 faceoffs.
The Kings were reduced to playing defense in the third period, when Quick made 17 of his 35 saves. One aspect that concerned Stevens in the preseason was having the Kings take care of their own zone, and that appears to be a talking point going into their next game Saturday.
Alex Iafallo could be fun to watch. Iafallo’s perfectly placed pass to Anze Kopitar in the first period was an example of the type of skilled hands the Kings need.
Nolan Patrick was quiet. The highly-regarded Philadelphia rookie was kept under wraps. He had one shot in 14 minutes, 20 seconds of ice time, which included nearly five minutes on the power play.
But he and linemates Wayne Simmonds and Jordan Weal saw a lot of ice time against Carter’s line, and Patrick lost six of eight faceoffs.
“I thought our top guys were really good tonight,” Stevens said of shutting down Patrick’s line. “I thought our defense played really solid.”
It was only the second NHL game, in as many nights, for Patrick, the second pick in June’s draft.
Follow Curtis Zupke on Twitter @curtiszupke