Kings’ patchwork defense held up in Game 2 but lack of scoring chances led to loss
The Kings will get nothing out of the longest playoff game in their history except for a 2-0 series deficit, more ice bags and a shorter turnaround to the next game.
They fought hard and admirably just to get to overtime, and gave themselves a chance behind Jonathan Quick’s 54 saves, but lost 2-1 in double overtime to the Vegas Golden Knights in a Game 2 first-round thriller Friday night at T-Mobile Arena.
“It’s terrible, especially to work that hard and go so far in the game, but I think we’re feeling pretty good,” said rookie Paul LaDue, the lone goal scorer for the Kings in the series.
Quick and his veteran teammates have been through worse than this, notably a 3-0 series deficit against the San Jose Sharks in 2014, and Quick shrugged off the 2-0 deficit.
“You’re not in trouble until the series is over,” Quick said.
LaDue was part of a patchwork defense put together because Drew Doughty served a one-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head. The group started off rough but got better as the game went along. The Kings ultimately were felled by Erik Haula’s golden goal 15 minutes 22 seconds into the second overtime.
The 95 minutes 22 seconds of play surpassed the 94:43 in Game 5 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final for the longest in Kings history.
Quick was largely responsible with 33 saves in regulation and 21 in overtime.
“He gave us a chance to win like he always does,” Kings coach John Stevens said. “We leaned on him pretty heavily, and [when we] give him a little more run support, [you] give yourself a really good chance to win the hockey game.”
The Kings will get Doughty back for Game 3 on Sunday at Staples Center. His absence Friday meant Alec Martinez played more than 44 minutes and rookie Oscar Fantenberg more than 41 minutes against a Vegas team that has scored only three goals in the series but shown an ability to create chances and keep the Kings away from its net.
“Obviously you don’t want to be down 2-0, but we’re going to have to play better going home,” captain Anze Kopitar said.
The Kings have scored one goal in nearly eight periods and were shut out for the first 95-plus minutes of the series until LaDue’s first playoff goal.
“That one felt great, but we need to find a way to get more pucks to the net and get more bodies in front of that guy,” La Due said of Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who faced only 30 shots in Game 2.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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