Anze Kopitar salvaged a poor opening period for the Kings. But that was the only fortunate turn for them Saturday afternoon.
The energy from a four-game win streak abruptly ended in a 4-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, and perhaps re-sounded alarms about their play.
The score was close for two periods but Vegas was clearly the better team in beating the Kings for the first time this season.
Here’s what we learned:
It’s a learning process for the kids
For as much promise that the rookies have shown, there are times like Saturday that remind one that they are young players.
Vegas’ second goal happened with Matt Luff tried to backhand the puck to Michael Amadio, and the turnover resulted in Alex Tuch’s game-winning score.
Players such as Luff, Amadio and Sean Walker will continue to develop but these are the growing pains they will go through as they try to become NHL regulars.
Jeff Carter didn’t help his trade value
There has been much speculation that the Kings are looking to move the veteran, who could be attractive to a contender looking for a depth center.
Apparently those teams haven’t seen games like Saturday, when Carter committed two turnovers in the third period and wasn’t a factor offensively. Carter has been outspoken about the Kings’ underachievement and, on a recent trip, included himself in that critique. On Saturday, it was well earned.
They aren’t the faceoff Kings lately
Winning draws was long a strong suit of the Kings, but they haven’t started with the puck as much. They lost 33 of 56 faceoffs Saturday and 34 of 62 on Thursday.
It’s a technical aspect of the game but it’s telling when Kopitar is beaten 12 out of 16 times and Carter eight out of 13 times.