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What we learned from the Kings' 5-3 loss at Ottawa

What we learned from the Kings' 5-3 loss at Ottawa
Senators goalie Craig Anderson, right, makes a save on Kings center Anze Kopitar as he is pressured by defenseman Cody Ceci during a Dec. 14 game in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld / Associated Press)

What we learned from the Kings’ 5-3 loss to Ottawa on Monday:

1. Players are really looking forward to a scheduled team-bonding/escape/retreat at a ski resort in the mountains not far from Montreal. They have booked ice for practice Tuesday and Wednesday but probably won’t skate Tuesday and will instead relax after a hectic schedule and prepare for Thursday’s game against the Canadiens at the Bell Centre.

"We're going to relax, take some days here and get our legs back," right wing Tyler Toffoli said. "It's been a long trip. There's no excuse for us but it will be nice to get away for a few days."

Defenseman Jake Muzzin agreed. “Regroup, refocus,” he said. “Take your mind away from hockey for a little bit and get ready for Montreal.”

Said center Anze Kopitar: "We started the trip pretty well. This is not the way you play on the road, but we've got two days now to regroup, recharge and really freshen up our minds and heads and go into Montreal and know what's at stake and get the two points."

2. Coach Darryl Sutter was so unhappy with his bottom-six forwards that he decided to dress seven defensemen and 11 forwards instead of the usual six-and-12 configuration. Forward Jordan Weal sat out Monday, while defenseman Derek Forbort played for only the second time in the team’s last 11 games. And after all that, Forbort played only six shifts for three minutes and 53 seconds’ ice time.

It was another 30-plus-minute game for Drew Doughty, who clocked in at 30:08. Kopitar, often double-shifted, played a season-high 26:44 and had one assist in addition to winning 57% of his faceoffs. Fellow center Jeff Carter, double-shifted early in the game as well, also hit a season-high, at 22:57 with one assist and a 55% success rate on faceoffs.

"We thought that quite honestly the last two or three games that we didn't get much out of the bottom part of our forward lineup at all," Sutter said. "Where we have forwards slotted, the third and fourth lines haven't given us much."

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3. Defenseman Brayden McNabb (-3 defensively) had a rough night, but he had a lot of company. Too many mistakes led to too many turnovers and led to prime scoring chances for the Senators. Sutter labeled many of the gaffes “fatigue mistakes,” so maybe that respite in the mountains will renew the Kings’ energy for their game against Montreal, the fifth game on this six-game trip. The journey ends Saturday at Toronto.

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4. We didn’t learn why the Kings called up defensemen Jeff Schultz and Nick Ebert from Ontario (Calif.) of the American Hockey League. However, it might have been a bookkeeping move related to potential salary-cap relief before the Kings place defenseman Matt Greene (shoulder surgery) on long-term injured reserve. That should all explain itself in the next few days.

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Twitter: @helenenothelen

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