What we learned from the Kings’ 3-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings’ Dylan Larkin scores a third-period goal past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick during a Dec. 10 game at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena.
(Gregory Shamus / Getty Images)

Everything but the kitchen sink was thrown at Jimmy Howard and the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

The Kings still left with an empty ladle.

Their season-high 43 shots went down in a 3-1 loss at Little Caesars Arena. They couldn’t finish their chances, and the mistakes in their own end cost them their 19th loss in 31 games. It certainly didn’t feel like a bad loss, considering that they had one of their better third periods lately. But a loss is a loss.

Here’s what we learned:

Bad teams have these kinds of dips


It doesn’t seem like the Kings played terribly, but the goals against were clear lapses in defense and are set against one of their more complete games, a 5-1 win against the Vegas Golden Knights last Saturday.

Struggling teams are up and down frequently, so this is right in line with a Kings team that has won two in a row just twice this season.

“We’ve got to work on our consistent play, shift to shift, game to game,” defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “We can’t have these highs and lows. We played a good game against Vegas. We didn’t play bad, but it would have been nice to get a win on the road and get this road trip off on the right foot.”

Tyler Toffoli is frustrated

That was already surmised, but it was displayed when he got a quality chance in the slot, off Nikita Scherbak’s pass, only to shoot it into goalie Jimmy Howard’s chest.

Toffoli looked up to the ceiling. He has a 13-game scoring drought, and it’s getting more pronounced with each loss.


The third line showed promise

Toffoli, Scherbak and Adrian Kempe combined for 13 shots and were active and noticeable.

“They were a good young line,” interim coach Willie Desjardins said. “I like what I see. I hope I can keep building with that line.”

Scherbak was tried with Anze Kopitar for a few shifts and missed on a long shot. It’s possible that teams haven’t thoroughly scouted Scherbak yet, but he’s shown a knack for putting the puck on net and being instinctive in the opposition end.

“He’s just kind of finding his way in the league right now but he makes some high-end plays,” Desjardins said.

Twitter: @curtiszupke