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Hockey

What we learned from the Kings’ 1-0 loss to the Blues

Peter Budaj
Kings goalie Peter Budaj blocks a shot from St. Louis’ David Perron during the second period of a game on Oct. 29.
(Bill Boyce / Associated Press)

A few more takeaways from their loss at St. Louis on Saturday night, the first defeat in five games for the Kings.

Power play issues

St. Louis came into the game ranked No. 2 in the league on the penalty kill and the Blues met the challenge again. The Kings went 0 for 5 on the power play and had several top-notch scoring opportunities.

“I thought we played a good game. We just didn’t capitalize on our chances,” Kings defenseman Alec Martinez said of the power play. “A few times there we turned away some shots  that maybe we should have taken. We’ve got to be better than we were tonight.”

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Budaj’s continued sharpness

Kings goalie Peter Budaj couldn’t be faulted for the Blues goal. The breakdown occurred much earlier on the scoring play, a turnover along the boards. “Sometimes you have to tip the hat. They made a heck of a play,” said Budaj of the passing leading to the Jaden Schwartz goal.

Budaj faced 25 shots and it was his first loss in five starts for the Kings this season, in filling the void created by the injury sustained by No. 1 goalie Jonathan Quick. He won four of his starts this season and one last season.

“He played awesome for us,” Martinez said.

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Budaj paid credit to his teammates.

“The guys blocked a tremendous amount of shots, especially on (the Blues) power play, he said. “They (the Blues) had five or six shots I didn’t see and they blocked.”

Importance of defenseman McNabb

The Kings’ depth on defense will certainly be tested in the coming days if Brayden McNabb is out of an extended stretch. He was injured in a collision with the big-bodied Colton Parayko of the Blues.

McNabb, who has had plenty of ups and downs the last couple of seasons, had been showing signs of greater understanding of the position and more poise under pressure. Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said that McNabb will “be reevaluated” on Sunday.

Defenseman Matt Greene has been out of the lineup since playing the opening two games, giving way to Tom Gilbert. Greene is with the team on this short trip, which ends on Sunday night at Chicago. Kings hockey operations, as of Saturday night, had not yet made a decision about bringing up defenseman Kevin Gravel from their minor-league affiliate in Ontario (Calif.).

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

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Follow Lisa Dillman on Twitter @reallisa


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