The first half of the season for the Kings -- they are 41 games in – ended with a decided thud on Thursday at Staples Center. A few takeaways from yet another inconsistent performance.
This time, it was defenseman Jake Muzzin’s turn. He played a season-low 17 minutes, 26 seconds against the Rangers. Muzzin, on most nights, is No. 2 in terms of ice time, behind team leader, defenseman Drew Doughty.
But Kings Coach Darryl Sutter cut Muzzin’s minutes in a big way in the third period, limiting him to a mere 3:31 in the third period.
“He refused to check,” Sutter said. “You don’t get played for what you did last year or last week or somewhere else. It’s how you’re playing tonight.”
Ice-time given and taken
Doughty logged his usual big minutes, playing 31:12 against the Rangers. Starting in December, he has had just one game with ice time under the 25-minute mark – it was 24:26 at Arizona on Dec. 4.
At the other end of the spectrum, Kings center Mike Richards played a season-low 9:07 against the Rangers. He has one goal in the last 18 games.
The speed of the Rangers gave the Kings fits most of the night.
“We had trouble keeping up with a fast team. There are two ways of neutralizing speed: Be fast yourself or slow them down,” said Sutter, noting that even the likes of the Jeff Carter line had issues trying to handle the Rangers.