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Hockey

What we learned from the Kings’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Coyotes

The Kings got more interesting the deeper the game got, like a game of Jenga that kept getting taller and more precarious with each step.

They came back from three goals down. They thought they won it in overtime. It was anybody’s game in a shootout. Ultimately, they settled for a standings point earned in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday.

Considering how bad a regulation loss would have been, it was a valiant rally against a traditionally tough opponent.

Here’s what we learned:

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Another bad start cost them. Despite the near-win, the Kings can look back on an opening 25 minutes in which they got hemmed in their own zone and turned the puck over. Jeff Carter committed a giveaway on Arizona’s first goal. Jake Muzzin’s clearing attempt turned into the Coyotes’ third goal.

Some lag was expected in their second game in as many nights, in Game 70, and there was the clear feeling of a point lost.

“We’re disappointed at the way we started the game,” Drew Doughty said. “They had the lead and we wanted the lead. So we’re disappointed in a way, but happy we came back. We had a lot of opportunities to win that game.”

Carter is working his way back into form. His two goals in the final eight minutes of regulation, both on deflections, give him six goals in 15 games since he returned from a leg injury. It’s impressive considering Carter was out for four months.

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Kings coach John Stevens recognizes that Carter is working off rust during the stretch run of a playoff push and, in Tuesday’s case, trying to make a difference on a difficult back end of the schedule.

“Jeff’s a pro, and he knows how to dig deep within himself to make a difference, and he has,” Stevens said. “His production’s been big since he’s been back. It’s important we manage his rust and his fatigue to allow him to be a good player and continue to help us.”

Jack Campbell was fairly hard on himself. It’s natural for young goalies to feel that way and Campbell faulted himself in just his second start with the Kings and third NHL start.

“I know have better, but I’ve just got to make the saves and we get two points,” Campbell said.

It was also Campbell’s first NHL shootout. He stopped three of five shooters and gave up goals to Clayton Keller on a wicked backhand under the crossbar and Alex Goligoski on a backhand-forehand move.

“It was an experience, but obviously some pretty good moves, but I’ve got to get better and make sure to stop them all next time,” Campbell said.

curtis.zupke@latimes.com

Follow Curtis Zupke on Twitter @curtiszupke

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