The Kings really know how to take a great franchise moment and throw it into the fire pit, or in this case, the Flames.
It was followed by a downright embarrassing third period for the Kings as they allowed four goals to a Calgary Flames team with a glorified minor-league lineup. Bad teams find ways to lose, but the Kings have gotten disturbingly creative as the season thankfully winds down.
The only good thing about Monday’s 7-2 loss was that it brought the Kings one game closer to the end.
Here’s what we learned:
Jonathan Quick is showing signs of overuse. Quick has gotten the majority of starts down the stretch, a curious decision considering his injury history, the Kings position in the standings and the fine numbers of backup Jack Campbell. interim coach Willie Desjardins has cited Quick’s desire to win for putting him in there, but it is past time to rethink that strategy.
Quick hasn’t received proper support but he also hasn’t looked quite right recently. He was subjected to an eventual 8-4 loss to the Edmonton Oilers last week and he wasn’t removed Monday until seven pucks went past him.
“It was just that time,” Desjardins said. “I had to make the move. I didn’t blame him for the goals … we weren’t ready as a team.”
Quick’s ability to steal games was a calling card for the Kings, but there’s only so much he can do when faced with constant odd-man rushes and poor puck management. The situation is compounded when Quick is off, even by a small margin.
“I think it’s a tough year for him,” Desjardins said. “I think he’s a great goaltender and he’s proved it time and time again. There’s been games here, even tonight, like he’s made big saves that should give us time to go the other way and turn the game around, and we haven’t done that. So we haven’t done that. We haven’t given him what he needs.”
This is wearing on everyone. It’s evident in the silent, bleak postgame locker rooms of so many awful losses this season. Kings veterans have tried to maintain a professional face, but players such as Drew Doughty just don’t tolerate losing, or a losing culture.
“I don’t know if anything went right tonight,” said Doughty, whose turnover led to the seventh goal, by Mark Jankowski. “We just didn’t really have a good third period. We just gave pucks away. That’s the bottom line. The other team just came on us on rushes all night, and we continue to play like that, that’s why we lose all these games.”
The Kings spent years, if not decades, trying to rid themselves of a losing culture before it turned around in remarkable fashion under former coach Darryl Sutter. It will take a healthy dose of that same patience to get through this transition.
Sam Bennett came out OK but Kurtis MacDermid did not. Bennett left the game after a booming hit from MacDermid in the second period. He got up wobbly and needed help to get to the bench in a scary-looking sequence that is usually associated with concussion symptoms.
But Calgary coach Bill Peters told reporters postgame that Bennett was “fine” and will play again before the week ends. MacDermid also did not return for the third period because of an upper-body injury, although it’s not clear if it was from the hit. MacDermid appeared OK when he went to the bench.
Desjardins said MacDermid wouldn’t travel with the Kings to Arizona for Tuesday’s game.