Enough injuries have piled up for the Kings already this season. But to lose the one player known for his durability falls under the cruelty category.
That would be Drew Doughty who, along with Dion Phaneuf, was lost to an upper-body injury in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night. This adds to a defensive unit that is already missing Alec Martinez, plus a litany of forwards. They still managed to get one standings point, and that will have to suffice on the second night of back-to-back games against a good skating team.
Here’s what we learned:
Cal Petersen picked up where he left off. All the rookie did was make a career-best 43 saves. He helped the Kings through nearly 10 minutes of penalty killing time and couldn’t be faulted for the game-winning goal by Jeff Skinner.
Petersen appeared to be beaten cleanly on a great snap shot by Jack Eichel, but he mostly stood tall in net on a night the Kings needed to rest Jonathan Quick. There might an eventual goalie question when Jack Campbell returns, but Petersen continues to show the poise needed to be an NHL goalie. He’s always about wins and the team, so it wasn’t surprising he couldn’t be content with one standings point earned.
“I don’t think that’s the way we’re going to look at it,” Petersen said. “I thought our D battled tremendously, being down two men almost half the game. On that side of things, it’s encouraging. But for only point, the position that we’re in, it’s unacceptable.”
Jake Muzzin was a warrior. He played 30 minutes, 35 seconds, with a goal, seven hits and three giveaways. He led a quartet of Derek Forbort, Oscar Fantenberg and Sean Walker when Doughty and Phaneuf left the game.
“Once Drew went down, he was kind of the leader back there,” Petersen said. “It seemed like every time the puck was in our zone, he was blocking shots, directing traffic. He did a fantastic job, as well as all the D.”
Add Skinner to the Kings-killer list. Skinner got the overtime goal for his 11th goal in 14 games against the Kings. That number is skewed by his hat trick on Oct. 20, but in the bigger picture, Skinner has exposed the Kings’ inability to counter speed.
Skinner put on a clinic in that Oct. 20 game and it fed into the perception that the Kings are old and slow. The Kings handled a skating Detroit Red Wings team fairly well on Monday, but Skinner, Eichel and the like were not the ideal follow-up.