The Kings have come up empty on their first two rolls of the dice against the Vegas Golden Knights. They did get a point out of a 3-2 overtime loss Thursday, but they admitted they probably didn’t deserve it.
They spent almost nine minutes shorthanded and couldn’t get a win out of another big performance from Jonathan Quick. Their game went south after the first period, although that had a lot to do with the persistence of Vegas in its first-ever game at Staples Center.
Here’s what we learned:
It’s shaping up as quite a divisional tussle
It takes a playoff series to make a rivalry, but it’s clear that the Golden Knights have set up shop in the Kings’ kitchen. Vegas is 2-0 against the Kings, who were clearly frustrated.
“Two competitive teams going at it,” Jake Muzzin said. “I mean, hits, scrums. They’re all part of the game and we see each other a lot, so I’m sure it will continue.”
The Kings will play Vegas twice more in the regular season, on a home-and-home set Feb. 26-27.
The Kings’ youth and inexperience is starting to show
They’ve made it nearly to the halfway point of the season with rookies dotting their lineup, but mistakes by young players such as Kurtis MacDermid and Alex Iafallo become magnified at this time of year. MacDermid and Kevin Gravel were on the ice for an apparent breakdown when Brendan Leipsic was unmarked to put in a loose puck. Iafallo appeared to be preoccupied with a Vegas player moments before Jonathan Marchessault was open for a second-chance goal.
MacDermid played three shifts in the third period, and Iafallo was benched for the entire third.
Quick was, um, involved
Quick received no help on Vegas’ regulation goals, and he kept the Kings in it with 36 saves. Frustration spilled over twice, with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to Quick at the end of the second period. He broke his stick on the bench as he went to the dressing room after the final horn.
The Kings collected a point, but Muzzin’s assessment of how they got that point is one Kings fans have heard before.
“Without our goaltender, I don’t think we’re in OT to begin with,” he said.