The arbitrary nature of the road hit the Kings in Toronto as they showed improvement in many categories but still came away with a shootout loss. Again, there are always stand-out moments, a few more takeaways from Sunday.
Carter’s slump deepens
One of the more bewildering aspects of the Kings’ scoring woes involves Jeff Carter. He worked hard over the summer and one of the story lines emerging in training camp was his impressive fitness level.
Carter and the kids (Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli) had an exceptional first month. In October, Carter had five goals in the Kings’ first eight games.
Since Oct. 26, he has scored twice and has not had a goal since Nov. 18 against Florida, a run of 12 games. In his last nine games, Carter has had one assist, the point coming in Thursday’s win at Ottawa.
Of his seven goals this season, one has been on the road.
Those are the pure numbers. You wonder if it is an injury but there has been no suggestion of any such issue. Carter has played in every game this season. It simply appears to be an old-fashioned scoring slump.
Homecoming(s) stall on the road
This trip through Canada represented a rare chance for the many Ontario-born and -raised Kings players to show their stuff in front of friends and family.
And before the Kings got to Canada, there were even more family members and friends than usual making the trip to Buffalo, taking advantage of the cheaper ticket prices at Sabres games.
The results: a loss at Buffalo, a win in Ottawa and a sloppy defeat at Montreal and, finally, a more respectable showing in a shootout loss.
The Kings’ four road wins this season have come against Dallas, Arizona, Minnesota and Ottawa. Of those four, the Wild is the only one with a winning record.
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty lamented the fact that they let the lead slip away in the third period on Sunday. The Kings rallied from a two-goal deficit, scored three straight goals and gave up a power-play goal by James van Riemsdyk at 8:49 of the third.
Shootouts unkind to Kings
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick put it best on Saturday at practice. Teams embrace the shootout when it is going well, not so much when it becomes an albatross.
This season, it has been the latter for the Kings. They are 1-4 in shootouts, beating St. Louis on Oct. 16, the fifth game of the season.
They’ve lost in shootouts to the New York Islanders (Nov. 6), Anaheim (Nov. 12), Nashville (Nov. 25) and the Maple Leafs on Sunday. The Kings have used seven players in shootouts. Of note, Kopitar is 0 for 5, Carter 1 for 4 and Gaborik 1 for 3.