The Kings skated into the — all together now — Center of the Hockey Universe and managed to stay in the same galaxy for a while.
But then the stars took over and the Kings’ power play failed them again in a 4-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena.
The Kings are past the point of taking positives out of any loss. They need results on their way back home, having dropped three of four on the trip.
This was a heaping helping of a challenge in taking on the NHL’s hottest team, which made it all the more exasperating when they skated with Toronto for much of the night.
Here’s what we learned:
They’re at the boiling-over point
Any team would be with a 0-for-21 power play to start the season. A strike Monday would have changed the momentum of the game or at least slowed Toronto’s energy.
Drew Doughty was sullen after the game, and the Kings were clearly disappointed in the second half of this trip. But they are largely a veteran squad, and Tyler Toffoli put on a good face when asked about the frustration in the dressing room.
“Definitely, but you’ve got to work through it, and you can’t use it as an excuse,” Toffoli said. “You’ve got to find a way and come together and you can’t do it by yourself. You’ve got to do that together. I think we’re going to be fine and we’re going to find a way.”
Ilya Kovalchuk will need monitoring
The 35-year-old played Monday after a nagging “issue” arose from Sunday morning, Kings coach John Stevens said.
Kovalchuk is gradually adapting to today’s NHL but he also has some miles on his body, and Stevens acknowledged that it’s a unique situation for a player that was on a five-year hiatus away from this level of play.
“It’s something we’re going to have to monitor,” Stevens said. “Our training staff does a really good job with just talking to players and seeing if it’s fatigue or bangs and bruises. We just want to make sure he’s getting enough work or too much work. It’s early now, that’s going to be a work in progress. But there’s been lots of conversations with [trainer Chris Kingsley] and [strength and development coach] Matt Price in making sure we’re communicating with him and how he’s feeling.”
Jonathan Quick has Jack Campbell’s back
Their friendship is already well-known, but Campbell said Quick texts him after every game as Quick works his way back from injury in Los Angeles.
“We have a great relationship,” Campbell said. “We’re more than just teammates. We’re pretty good buddies off the ice too. He’s always given me pointers, which means a lot to me. He definitely helps a lot. I’m interested to hear what he has to say about this one.”