The Kings went meekly into the Alberta night.
They were better than or at least even with the Calgary Flames for two of three periods Thursday, but were wrecked by probably their worst second period of the season.
They flew home with a 4-3 loss at Scotiabank Saddledome and with four points out of a possible six on their western Canada journey. One more game awaits them Saturday before their bye week begins, but a look back is in order.
Here’s what we learned:
The Kings’ reliance on Jonathan Quick is becoming more exposed. When the Kings are off their possession game, as they were in the second period against Calgary, they’ve become accustomed to having Quick stop everything that comes his way.
But nights like Thursday were too much to ask of their netminder, who still made it a two-goal game despite the onslaught he faced. Quick and Darcy Kuemper are why the Kings are No.1 in the NHL in goals against at the halfway point.
“I think we take it for granted sometimes, and that’s why we don’t play the way we should, because he bails us out the majority of the time, and it kind of gets unnoticed,” Anze Kopitar said of Quick. “We’ve got to make sure it doesn’t happen.”
The Pacific Division might be more revealing. The Kings are 5-5-3 in the division. Two of those wins were against the injury-ravaged Ducks, one was against the underachieving Edmonton Oilers, one against the seventh-place Vancouver Canucks and another against the San Jose Sharks.
Without discounting what they’ve done through 41 games, the second half figures to get more interesting. The Kings have three more games against the Ducks, who have Ryan Kesler back, and two more against first-place Vegas Golden Knights.
The jury is still out on Calgary but Thursday was a reminder that the Flames have fight.
Micheal Ferland continues to impress. Ferland was the toast of the town for Calgary in the 2015 playoffs, and it’s easy to see why he’s dug out a role in the NHL. He’s big and effective at both ends of the rink.
Just after his second-period goal, Ferland backchecked to break up an odd-man rush attempt with a stick lift of Marian Gaborik. Does the game change if Gaborik scores there? Probably not. But it’s an example of Ferland’s two-way worth.