The Kings' sudden goal-scoring acumen and signature disciplined structure apparently didn't make the short trip from Boston.
They scored nine goals only two days ago against the Boston Bruins. But they came up short Thursday night in a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders at Barclays Center and equally short in trying to explain their inconsistency.
"I don't know what to tell you," defenseman Drew Doughty said. "We just need everybody to show up every single night. You can't rely on a few guys to do the job every night."
The Kings and goalie Jhonas Enroth fell behind, 3-0, before the game was 14 minutes old and trailed, 4-1, after two periods. Enroth was making the start in place of Jonathan Quick, who was scratched because of an injury.
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter noted the Islanders' edge down the middle. Captain John Tavares had a goal and an assist for the Islanders. Scoring for the Kings were left wing Kyle Clifford (first of the season) and left wing Milan Lucic (14th).
"We were flat," Sutter said. "We didn't play much of our game, at all. Down the middle of the ice, those three centermen get a lot of goals for them.
"I thought [Kings center] Jeff [Carter] played really well. Our other centermen had a hard time."
Center Anze Kopitar was a minus-one, Andy Andreoff a minus-two. Andreoff, in particular, looked lost on the sequence leading to Cizikas' goal, a rebound that made the score 2-0, at 11:19 of the first period.
Lucic had a turnover in the neutral zone on the Islanders' first goal, which was scored by Boychuk. Lucic, who had a goal and an assist in his emotional return against his former team on Tuesday, owned the miscue.
"We can't play one way one game and one way another game," he said. "We've got to find that consistency in our game, night in, night out. We need to learn from this once again and be ready to play come tomorrow because it doesn't get easier as the trip goes along.
"Our execution in the first period allowed them to get that lead. ...In this league, you've got to make that next play and I wasn't able to make that next play, turned the puck over and it ends up in our net."
In addition to Quick, the Kings' scratches were defenseman Jamie McBain, left wing Tanner Pearson and center Nick Shore. Quick's injury – he is considered day to day -- and a decision to put defenseman Christian Ehrhoff on waivers – he cleared -- triggered two roster moves earlier in the day.
It was a whirlwind for the 23-year-old Gravel, who was preparing to play a minor league game at San Jose on Wednesday but was held out.
"It all happened pretty quickly," he said. "I got here and they told me I was playing, so I kind of rolled with it. You get a little time to think about it on a cross-country trip, but it's not a trip you mind making.
"It's exciting. You've been working your whole life for this and to get the first one is an exciting moment."
Said Sutter of Gravel's debut: "It was hard to evaluate it. He played the left side and they generate a lot from that side of the ice against us, so it's hard to just single that player out.
"Good for him. He gets his first NHL game."
AT NEW YORK RANGERS
When: Friday, 4 p.m. PST.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 790.
Update: The Rangers have won four in a row, sparked by goalie Henrik Lundqvist and the line of Derick Brassard, Jesper Fast and J.T. Miller, which has combined for 24 points in the Rangers' last eight games. Lundqvist recorded the 58th shutout of his career Wednesday in a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins and ranks second among active goaltenders in shutouts, trailing only Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers, who has 72.