What we learned from the Kings 3-2 shootout loss to the Ducks:
Another shootout, another loss for the Kings. This one came on a festive night, the jersey retirement for Rob Blake, the Kings' Hall of Fame defenseman and current assistant general manager. A few takeaways on a night when the Kings let another point slip away.
On the outside, looking in
Yes, this was Game 45 for the Kings and this is still January. There are still two more games before the All-Star break.
In other words, plenty of hockey and plenty of trade rumors await. But, as of now, the Kings are out of a playoff spot, tied with Calgary with 51 points. But the Flames, who rallied on Saturday to beat the San Jose Sharks in overtime, hold the tiebreaker.
Winnipeg (56 points) and Calgary are occupying the two wild-card positions. The Kings' next opponent? The Flames on Monday. The second half of the season seems destined to test the Kings' championship pedigree.
Shootout woes, deepening
Remember the considerable issues that the New Jersey Devils had with shootouts last season?
The Kings haven't quite reached that level of desperation. This season, they are 1-7 in shootouts -- the lone success coming against the Ducks in November -- and have failed to convert on their last 22 shootout opportunities. With two games remaining, against Calgary and San Jose, before the All-Star break, the Kings have left a possible seven points on the table.
"We have enough talent here," forward Marian Gaborik said. "We just have to find a way to bear down and put some goals in obviously. We're going to the third period with a 2-1 lead and we just have to find a way to close it out."
It was Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar and Gaborik all falling short against the Ducks in the shootout loss. Maybe it's time to give defenseman Drew Doughty another shot.
Or to see if center Jarret Stoll can recapture some past shootout magic. In the 2010-11 season, Stoll scored nine times in 10 shootout attempts.
Kings rookie center Nick Shore made his NHL debut on Saturday and was tossed right into the deep end, even getting an early assignment against the Ryan Getzlaf line.
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter offered a muted observation, saying: "I thought he was all right."