Kings doomed by dismal start in loss to Canucks 6-2
Kings general manager Rob Blake was fairly adamant that he wasn’t going to make any rash decisions based on this losing stretch.
With the Feb. 26 trade deadline coming into focus, Blake said before the Kings played the Vancouver Canucks that their deficiencies wouldn’t heavily impact his deadline strategy.
“I don’t think it’s winning or losing that’s going to create that [activity],” Blake said.
The Kings made a pretty good case to change his mind Tuesday. A 6-2 loss at Rogers Arena began with familiar futility and descended from there. They allowed four goals in the first 10 minutes and only got scores from Alex Iafallo and Anze Kopitar in their seventh loss in eight games.
Jonathan Quick wasn’t his best but also received scant defensive support and was removed after five goals allowed on 19 shots. The six goals were the most the Kings have allowed this season, and they came against the 14th place team in the Western Conference. Quick did not look like he wanted to leave but Kings coach John Stevens put in Darcy Kuemper.
“If I could have put them both in the net tonight, I would have left them both in,” Stevens said. “They were the least guys I could blame.”
The Kings have been outscored 11-1 in the first period of their past seven games. Tuesday’s start was dumbfounding given the Kings had just ended a six-game losing streak and are trying to climb back into playoff position.
“Whether you’re in first place or last place, it doesn’t matter,” Kopitar said. [It’s] very disappointing on our part. We got a big win two days ago, and coming in here, knowing that we need the two points just because we know where we are in the standings. To have it turn out the way it did is disappointing.”
The talk here beforehand concerned the future of Vancouver’s Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who are both in the final seasons of their contracts. Henrik Sedin said Tuesday morning that they could give management an indication of their intentions before trade deadline. Asked what factors will play into their decision, Henrik Sedin said, “There’s family, there’s how we feel physically and mentally. There’s a lot of different things.”
But it was another veteran forward, Loui Eriksson, who singlehandedly staked Vancouver to a 3-0 lead with two goals and an assist. He tapped in a loose puck 62 seconds in, buried Bo Horvat’s pass on a two-on-one and sprung Thomas Vanek, who ripped a slap shot past Quick at 5:49.
Stevens called time out, and the Kings got an important response goal from Iafallo, his fourth of the season. But the Kings gave it back on a faceoff violation that led to Sven Baertschi’s power-play goal and 4-1 lead that mercifully ended the scoring in the first period.
The Canucks’ sixth-ranked power play scored three goals against the Kings’ No. 1 penalty killing unit. Numbers didn’t matter to Stevens.
“This one tonight, [you] just throw out,” Stevens said. “Total reluctance to follow the game plan. For whatever reason they come in ready to check and play hard on pucks. We tried to play a rush game and allowed people to get behind us. The two best players in the game tonight were our goalies. It’s not often you say that when you lose 6-2, but that’s pretty much what it summed up to.”
The Kings began the second period strong, but that was negated by Alec Martinez’s hooking penalty, one of two penalties drawn by Vancouver’s impressive rookie Brock Boeser.
Boeser scored his 23rd and 24th goals in the second period, including a five-on-three power-play goal after he was shaken up by Trevor Lewis’ cross-checking penalty. Horvat finished with two assists for a Canucks team that looked fresh with a healthy lineup.
Defenseman Derek Forbort left the game with an upper-body injury and Stevens did not have an update.
When: 7 (PST)
On the air: TV: FSW; Radio: 790
Update: The Flames went into the bye week on a seven-game win streak but came out of it with one goal scored in each of their past two games. Sean Monahan is the second player in franchise history, after Kent Nilsson, to score at least 20 goals in each of his first five seasons.
Follow Curtis Zupke on Twitter @curtiszupke
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