A few takeaways after the Kings' playoff hopes were dealt a significant blow by a 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, the Kings' first regulation loss to the Oilers since Nov. 3, 2011.
Yes, a week does make a difference
For the Oilers. And for the Kings.
From eight goals to two. The Kings’ blowout of last week -- an 8-2 victory over the Oilers in Los Angeles -- morphed into something of a debacle at Rexall Place.
There were no goals from the Kings' forwards: the two power-play goals came from defensemen Jake Muzzin and Drew Doughty, the latter a fluke from center ice. Muzzin scored his 10th of the season, a career high.
In fact, in this two-game run of must-win games, the Kings have one goal from a forward, Dwight King, who scored against Vancouver.
Calgary Herald columnist George Johnson has used the phrase "banana peel" games to describe these contests against lesser lights.
Hey, the Flames may have slipped a bit against Arizona but at least they didn’t fall like the Kings.
What about Jonathan Quick?
The second-guessing about starting Martin Jones instead of the locked-in, tough-minded Jonathan Quick began on social media even before puck drop.
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter talked about all the obvious reasons afterward: The back-to-back situation and the Kings being in the stretch of three games in four nights and then an afternoon game against the Sharks on Saturday.
This was one of the rare times that Sutter, always ride-the-No. 1 goalie, has been criticized for giving a goalie, you know, some rest,
It’s all fascinating, of course. But bottom line: Jones wasn’t the reason the Kings lost to the Oilers.
Of course, it comes down to the Flames
If the Kings lose in regulation on Thursday night, they are done.
And why not have it ride on a game against the Flames? They lead the season series against the Kings 3-1-0 and also hold the first tiebreaker, the ROW, 40 to 37.
Sutter has spent a big chunk of his professional career with Calgary as coach and general manager. He guided the Flames to a Stanley Cup Final and there are still ties with the organization because his younger brother Ron works for the team.
Doughty predicted that the Kings’ A-game would return on Thursday.
“You’re going to see our best game,” he said. “The Kings, when we play our best hockey we’re still one of the best teams in the league, and I think everyone knows that. We just haven’t been able to do that consistently this year.
“Calgary has kind of had our number this year and we owe them. Going into their building, we’re going to play a big, hard, rough road game and get a win there.”
Said Kings center Anze Kopitar: “It usually comes down to that and it’s never easy.”