A few takeaways from the Kings’ home opener, on Friday night. The sentimental buzz over a nicely executed pregame ceremony, honoring the past and team from the first season, quieted in the second period when the Flyers scored four straight goals.
Slow start, 2.0
The Kings lost their first three games to open last season. They will try to avoid matching that when they travel to Minnesota to play the Wild on Tuesday. Kings Coach Darryl Sutter adjusted his lines against the Flyers, putting center Anze Kopitar with wingers Dwight King and Tyler Toffoli.
Toffoli, incidentally, has a combined eight shots on goal in his first two games.
Kopitar, who had an assist and three shots on goal against the Flyers, assessed the 0-2 start. The Kings lost, 2-1, at San Jose on Wednesday night in the season opener.
“No, we did not play OK,” he said. “The one in San Jose was close but not nearly as good as we have to play, and tonight the second period was not good. We’ve got to definitely be better.”
Second-period breakdowns costly
Defensemen Matt Greene and Derek Forbort struggled in the second-period collapse. Greene was on for three of the Flyers’ goals and Forbort two.
They were hardly the only ones. Forwards Jeff Carter and Trevor Lewis were both a minus-three, overall. Winger Teddy Purcell was a minus-two in 11-plus minutes of ice time and does not have a shot on goal in two games.
Said Kopitar: “We didn't play the way we're supposed to play. A couple of bad line changes, a couple of missed coverages and they cashed in on them and we obviously can't let that happen.
“You can't expect to win when you let in four goals in one period. That second period was not good and we came back in the third with more energy and more like us, the way we want to play, but obviously it wasn't enough.”
Ceremonial blues, again
Opening nights haven’t been kind to the Kings.
San Jose’s home opener: a loss. The Kings home opener: a loss.
Sutter likes his schedule tight and organized and the long break between the pregame warmup and puck drop, which was close to 8 p.m., wasn’t to his liking. He made that clear after Friday’s morning skate and later mentioned the “pregame thing” affecting both teams in the first period.
The good news about Tuesday’s game in St. Paul against the Wild? Well, it won’t be Minnesota’s home opener because it is hosting Winnipeg on Saturday night.