Jonathan Quick got a piece of Brock Boeser’s shot, but it bounced and slid meekly into the net.
It seemed to sum up this part of the Kings’ season. They’ve done much to put themselves in position for wins, but getting the job half-done isn’t going to cut it at this point.
What especially hurt in a 4-3 shootout loss Thursday night at Staples Center was that they had two points in hand against the Vancouver Canucks, but relinquished it late and lost on Boeser’s game-winning goal in the third round of the shootout.
The Kings were less than 100 seconds from a regulation victory, and it would have happened on a harmless looking, end-over-end shot by Alec Martinez that fluttered for more than 40 feet and found the net at 10 minutes 59 seconds of the third period.
That held until Adam Gaudette spoiled the affair with a wrist shot off a loose puck on a rush with 1:38 remaining.
The Kings got a point but knew they shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place after Quick’s 24-save effort.
“We’ve got to help out Quickie,” Austin Wagner said. “Quickie’s making a lot of saves tonight, and not even saves from out far, but a lot of grade-A chances, and you can’t do that every night. We need to tighten that up for him.”
Wagner and Michael Amadio did well to dim the high wattage of Vancouver rookie Elias Pettersson, scoring goals that erased deficits of 1-0 and 2-1.
Amadio got the last word in a second period of heavy swings.
Vancouver goalie Jacob Markstrom kicked out a rebound on Kyle Clifford’s attempt and it slid perfectly for Amadio to convert for his third goal of the season.
Wagner brought a response goal eight seconds after Pettersson scored the game’s first goal on a power play.
Wagner grabbed the puck inside the blue line off a faceoff, sped to the high slot and launched a snap shot past Markstrom.
It was his third goal in four periods, dating to his two-goal performance Monday night at Washington.
While youth twice helped tie the score for the Kings, it also cost them.
Defenseman Sean Walker couldn’t get the puck out near the boards and the errant bounce allowed Gaudette to assist Boeser for an uncontested goal in the second period.
Vancouver played Wednesday and the game took another bite out of its lineup.
The Canucks were without forward Jake Virtanen and defenseman Chris Tanev, among other injured players.
But they did have Pettersson, who with his 26th goal showed why he is one of the league’s top attractions. He set up on the right side, easily moved in and ripped a shot past Martinez and Quick while Trevor Lewis served an interference penalty.
Pettersson also scored in the shootout while Ilya Kovalchuk was the Kings’ lone scorer.
“I thought it was a hard game all the way through,” Kings coach Willie Desjardins said. “I thought right from the start, you weren’t going to get anything easy. I thought our group showed a lot. I thought we had lots of chances. I thought their guys battled, too, after the back-to-back.”
It wasn’t the ideal start in the Kings’ first home game in more than three weeks. They liked the majority of a 3-2-1 trip, but Desjardins decided change was in order and put Tyler Toffoli at right wing on his No. 1 line, moving Dustin Brown to the second line with Amadio and Brendan Leipsic. Dion Phaneuf sat out for the second time in four games as part of Desjardins’ rotation on the back third of the defense.
Another forward prospect could soon be available to the Kings. Jonny Brodzinski was assigned to Ontario for a conditioning assignment. He has not played since suffering a shoulder injury in a preseason game.