Chances squandered, Kings wrap up an otherwise successful trip with a 4-2 loss at St. Louis
Tyler Toffoli looked up to the rafters in astonishment for some kind of explanation. He’s still waiting.
Toffoli had a golden chance with a backhand shot on a gaping net that would have tied the score in the third period, but the puck appeared to hit the stick knob of St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen.
“He didn’t move,” Toffoli said. “It just hit him, so it’s unfortunate, because if that goes in there, we’re at least going to overtime.”
That fleeting window to turn the game was one of the few plays that didn’t go right on a Kings trip that ended when they met their match in a 4-2 loss Monday night at Scottrade Center. The Kings didn’t have the puck as much and ran into Allen, whose stop on Drew Doughty just before Toffoli’s try drew raves from a crowd of 17,423.
“We were just behind all night,” Dustin Brown said. “We had good looks late in the game. I don’t know how many times you give Ty that chance. Maybe he misses that one out of 100.”
It was an enticing late-October clash between the two best teams in the Western Conference, with similar styles, personnel and coaches in John Stevens of the Kings and Mike Yeo who assumed their positions after serving as associate head coaches.
The Kings, wrapping up a six-game, 6,300-mile trip, took to the task and pulled to 2-1 and 3-2 on goals by Brown and Tanner Pearson. Pearson slipped a backhander under Allen on a breakaway for only his second goal this season, and Brown redirected Doughty’s shot on a power play.
The Kings could not pull Jonathan Quick for an extra attacker until 85 seconds remained, then lost the puck at the blue line before Vladimir Sobotka scored into an empty net. The Kings also lost a coaches challenge for goalie interference on the Blues’ third goal, scored on a shot by Carl Gunnarsson.
Brown then said that eventually “those things even out at the end.”
The Kings couldn’t gripe much with eight points earned on the trip. It was only their second regulation loss, both on the road. St. Louis remained the only team in the NHL undefeated at home, running its record to 5-0.
“Kind of a sour note to go home on, but to be honest with you, I thought the guys played hard tonight,” Stevens said. I think their execution could get better, especially in the neutral zone, but I really felt the guys dug in and played hard tonight. We’ll learn from this game and continue to get better.”
The Kings also could have turned the game after killing a 57-second two-man advantage to start the second period. But the Blues still occupied their zone frequently, leading to a 2-0 advantage.
Jaden Schwartz shot in Brayden Schenn’s rebound in the slot. Schwartz earlier fed Vladimir Tarasenko for a shot that beat Quick to the blocker side, following Derek Forbort’s turnover in neutral ice.
All within a three-minute span.
“I think any time you give a home team a bit of momentum, they can swing with it, and they did that,” Pearson said. “We weren’t able to calm the storm quick enough.”
Go beyond the scoreboard
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