There was much to unpack for the Kings when they returned home.
They were achingly close to tying their first-round playoff series against the Vegas Golden Knights. They almost did it without Drew Doughty, as their makeshift defense held Vegas to two goals. But Jonathan Quick was direct after a 2-1 double-overtime loss in Game 2.
“If you’re trying to pull positives [out of a loss], you’re in trouble if you’re looking for that,” the goaltender said.
Facts are stubborn. The only thing the Kings got from the longest game in franchise history Friday was an 0-2 series deficit and the reality that they’ve scored one goal in roughly 155 minutes against Vegas.
“I think, to a man, we know that we’ve got more,” center Jeff Carter said. “We’ve got a few areas that we can clean up that I think will help us out in generating more offense. We’ve got more, for sure.”
Friday’s all-nighter was eventually won by Erik Haula, to complete 95 minutes, 22 seconds of hockey, which just surpassed the 2014 Stanley Cup-clinching Game 5 as the longest in Kings history (94:43).
Saturday was a day to recover, and to confront a Kings offense that couldn’t get a win out of a franchise-playoff record 54 saves from Quick and a near-45 minute game from Alec Martinez. That largely points to a lack of scoring depth.
Carter recorded just two shots in almost 30 minutes in Game 2 and has lost 27 of 44 faceoffs in the series. Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson have combined for one goal in the past 11 games. Adrian Kempe was among the Kings’ best forwards in Game 1 but, again, those stubborn facts: He takes a 31-game scoreless streak into Game 3 on Sunday at Staples Center.
The answer for the Kings is clear: Get more time in Vegas’ zone, and that starts with the forecheck.
Doughty will return Sunday following his one-game suspension as the Kings re-group. Not that they need to.
“We don’t think we’re that far off,” Kings coach John Stevens said. “It’s a long series and even though you’ve lost two games, the work you’ve done right now can still pay dividends as you move through a series, even though you don’t get the results you wanted.”
This is Stevens’ first playoff as Kings head coach, and he will stick with the Darryl Sutter-era postseason routine of staying in a hotel the night before home games and having game-day skates at Staples Center.
“It’s a big commitment from the players, but it’s worked for us,” Stevens said.
An 0-2 series deficit is hardly new territory. The Kings famously trailed the San Jose Sharks 0-3 in 2014 and the rest is history.
That might have explained the no-worry look on Carter’s face.
“We’ve been here before,” Carter said. “It’s a long series. Obviously we would have liked to get a win in Vegas. But it’s a long series. I keep saying it, but we know what we’ve got to do. We know we have more in that room. There’s another level there, and we’ve got to get to it.”
Follow Curtis Zupke on Twitter @curtiszupke