A couple of takeaways after a flat night at Staples Center in which the Kings lost in regulation for just the second time this season.
Big minutes having an impact on Drew Doughty
Yes, the increase in ice time is something the free-spirited Doughty embraces. While it might be fine in a limited stretch, it is starting to take a toll on the Kings' No. 1 defenseman.
“He has been playing a lot of minutes,” Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said. “Do we like that? No. But that’s where we’re at."
Sutter, of course, is monitoring it. Doughty's ice time was 31-plus minutes against the Stars, the second time he has gone over the 31-minute mark this season. He is averaging 28:37, second in the league behind Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter's 29:08
"I look at that all the time too. It’s too many minutes," Sutter said. "He’s going to tell you he’s fine. But over the long haul, that’s too many."
Alec Martinez injury concern
The Kings had to drop to five defensemen when Alec Martinez was injured blocking a shot in the second period and did not return.
Sutter did not have much in the way of a medical update, but General Manager Dean Lombardi responded to The Times after the game, via text message, and indicated that the injury was not serious.
Good news? It would appear that way, of course.
And it also depends upon your definition of the word "serious." The Kings would be in yet another serious bind without Martinez, even if he only missed a couple of games because of a not-so-serious injury.
Without Martinez in the lineup for about the last period and a half, the ice time of the other defensemen skyrocketed: Jake Muzzin (26:43), Brayden McNabb (21:05), Matt Greene (18:21) and Jamie McBain (10:04). This was McBain's second game with the Kings after he signed a one-year, two-way contract earlier this week.
Back-to-backs not kind
It was never going to be easy to pull it back together -- physically and emotionally -- after what was the game of the season, the roller-coaster, shootout loss on Wednesday against the Ducks.
The Kings were flat in the first period against the Stars and picked up the pace later in the second period. By then, it was too late as they trailed, 2-0.
"We scored 10 goals in the last two games coming into the night, so tonight we couldn’t get one," Sutter said. "We need a little bit more from the top then. When you’re a little banged up in the back, you need to look at chances from your top-end players.”