Another loss for Kings’ Ben Scrivens
Pity poor Ben Scrivens.
In the span of three nights the Kings goaltender has played six periods and two overtimes, more than 125 minutes of hockey, and given up three goals.
And all he has to show for it is two overtimes losses, the latest coming to the Colorado Avalanche, 1-0, on Saturday night before a sellout crowd at the Staples Center.
Jamie McGinn got credit for the winning goal midway through the five-minute overtime, although the last player to touch the puck before it hit the net was Kings center Jarret Stoll, who tried to make a sliding save only to have the rebound of McGinn’s one-timer deflect off his elbow and over the goal line.
That left Scrivens having to be content with the praise of teammates who haven’t been able to provide him with much in the way of support on the ice.
“Scriv was dynamite tonight. We should have put a couple in to help him out,” defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “He was awesome.”
Added forward Anze Kopitar: “He kept us [in] all the way. We’re really comfortable having him back there and he’s given us a chance every night.”
That goals proved hard to come by Saturday shouldn’t have been a surprise since the Kings haven’t given up more than two goals in regulation in their last nine games. Not surprisingly, they’ve earned a point in nine consecutive games as well.
Since Scrivens took over for the injured Jonathan Quick in goal 10 days ago, he’s pitched two shutouts and leads the league with a 1.15 goals-against average.
“I try to approach every game the same. It’s hard to win in this league so you can’t take any nights for granted,” Scrivens said.
He lost what could have been his third shutout after Colorado stole the puck deep in its own end. The puck eventually wound up with John Mitchell between the faceoff circles in the Kings’ zone and from there he fed McGinn skating into alone to the right post. McGinn tried to direct the puck around Scrivens, who made the stop only to have the rebound hit Stoll and go in, giving Colorado its third overtime win in as many tries.
Naturally, Scrivens blamed himself afterward for giving up the rebound.
“He made some great saves for them,” said Colorado Coach Patrick Roy, who, as a Hall of Fame goaltender in his playing days, knows something about the position. “I thought we had a lot of good chances.”
But while Scrivens has been brilliant of late, the Kings have struggled on the other end, scoring two or fewer goals five times in their last seven outings. Part of the blame lies with the team’s powerless power play, which has scored only three times in its last 27 tries.
That didn’t change Saturday when the Kings managed only four shots in three power-play opportunities, including a four-minute span straddling the second and third periods.
The cleanest chance the Kings had came five minutes into the final period when Tyler Toffoli’s shot from a tough angle on the right wing bounced into the cease where Mike Richards took a poke at it. And though Avs’ goalie Semyon Varlamov lost his mask on the play, he managed to make the save.
Things might get worse before they get better for the Kings, whose recent spate of injuries continued Saturday when the team got forward Kyle Clifford back from injured reserve but lost two others to lower-body injuries when center Trevor Lewis went on the IR with a lower-body injury and winger Matt Frattin was scratched. Frattin is not expected to accompany the Kings on Sunday when they leave for brief two-game trip to Vancouver and San Jose
The Kings made it through 13 games to start the season healthy but in November they’ve sent six players to the injured reserve list, leaving them with only six active defenseman and with three forwards who were playing at Manchester of the American Hockey League three weeks ago.
That could have something to do with the sputtering offense since Kings Coach Darryl Sutter has found himself having to juggle his lines on a nightly basis -- as he did Saturday when he moved Dustin Brown from left wing to the right side.
“We have a lot of guys out of the lineup, knocked two guys out again last game,” Sutter said. “The goalie has to make big saves, which he did. He has to do that when we’re not scoring.”
Times staff writer Helene Elliott contributed to this story.
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