What we learned from the Kings’ 4-2 loss to the Las Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday:
The Golden Knights aren’t the usual hapless expansion team
They’re pretty well balanced, led by James Neal’s 10 goals and William Karlsson’s nine; Reilly Smith has contributed 16 points, and David Perron has 17. Neal and Perron were held off the scoresheet on Sunday but the Golden Knights still won, thanks to their ability to capitalize on the Kings’ many turnovers and their persistence. They’re competitive, and the atmosphere in T-Mobile Arena makes it a tough place for visitors to get two points. Maybe the Golden Knights will tail off a bit, but they’re structured so they don’t depend on one star player to carry them and instead rely on some interchangeable and hardworking parts. That makes it easier for them to find success.
Jonathan Quick can’t make up for everyone else’s mistakes
The Kings’ franchise goaltender had been exceptional in the early stages of the season. But more than a quarter of the way into the season, it’s becoming apparent that he’s being asked to face too many prime scoring chances. Quick had an off night on Sunday but he got little help, and that can’t continue. “It’s true. We rely on him too much,” defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “We get spoiled when he’s back there. Pucks went in the net early and we couldn’t get back into it.” They did close within 3-2 and had some decent scoring chances of their own but the Golden Knights held on.
They’re taking ’em five games at a time
Kings coach John Stevens likes to break the season into five-game segments, as many coaches do, in an effort to make the 82-game schedule feel more manageable. The Kings were 1-4 in the previous segment and on Sunday, in Game 21, began another five-game segment with a loss. What does Stevens want to see in the next five games? “Nothing’s changed,” he said Sunday. “We want to be better defensively, we want to get better in all three zones. Special teams needs to be better. The last segment wasn’t good. We didn’t score enough, gave up too much. So there’s lots of work to do.”
Monday will be a day of rest
After playing five games in eight days — including back-to-back games at home on Saturday and at Las Vegas on Sunday — the Kings will have a day off on Monday before they resume practice. Next up is Winnipeg, which has won four straight games and eight of its last 10, so there’s no time for the Kings to relax.