What we learned from the Kings’ 4-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild

Kings’ Ilya Kovalchuk (17) tries for the rebound as Minnesota Wild’s Mikael Granlund, left, and goalie Devan Dubnyk defend in the first period on Oct. 25.
(Jim Mone / Associated Press)

There’s not much else to say. The Kings got a solid start. They received quality goaltending. They had ample opportunity to win against another non-playoff team from last season.

They still lost, 4-1, to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.

They’ve spun their wheels for two weeks. They are the second-worst team in the NHL at 2-7-1, and their minus-18 goal differential is only topped by the Detroit Red Wings’ (minus-19).


Seven straight games at home begin Sunday, with significant personnel moves possibly looming.

Here’s what we learned:

Is it time to send a message?

Adrian Kempe has taken eight minor penalties in 10 games after his needless boarding of Mikael Granlund at the Wild bench. Tanner Pearson is looking for his first goal. Nate Thompson committed turnovers in his first shift and had the puck bounce off his stick with an open net staring at him.

This has been opined here before, but, again, if there are no other changes made to the roster, Kings coach John Stevens might have to consider benching one of his regulars to get a message through, because nothing else has worked.

Finishers need to finish

Ilya Kovalchuk couldn’t convert a two-on-none when his stick got tied up. He was not credited with a shot on goal in more than 18 minutes. Jeff Carter had the puck on his stick, with time, in the slot on a third-period power play but passed it to Kovalchuk.

The Kings needed to get to Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk but never really tested him. They also didn’t give up a lot of chances, and when they did, goalie Jack Campbell was there. His two goals allowed were on a bounce off a sprawled Eric Fehr and a screened shot from Jonas Brodin.

In other words, two points were there for the taking.

“I thought the guys played outstanding,” Campbell said. “I just think we need a big win. I just think we should have won this game.”

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Last season, the Kings ended a six-game losing streak with a win against the New York Rangers at home. They have a chance to mimic that this Sunday when Dustin Brown returns.

On the cusp of a shake-up, the Kings need any kind of spark.

“It will be good for us and good for him, and obviously he’s champing at the bit waiting to get back,” Alex Iafallo said.

Twitter: @curtiszupke