What we learned from the Kings’ 3-1 loss to the Washington Capitals
A few more takeaways before the Kings resume the search for wins -- and goals -- in the final two games of the seven-game trip.
Lost art of scoring
The Kings didn’t leave their hearts in Boston ... but they seemed to have mostly left scoring (multiple) goals behind since recording nine goals against the Bruins.
The exception was Friday at Madison Square Garden. They had five in the overtime victory against the Rangers. Since then, zero versus New Jersey and one against the Capitals.
“We’ve been struggling to score lately and it’s been hurting us,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. “That nine-goal game was something I’ve never witnessed as an L.A. King. Not that that was a fluke or anything like that, but that night the bounces were just going our way and we were playing good hockey.
“For the most part, we’re going to win games [by scores of] 2-1 or 3-2, and we’re happy with that. We’d like to be the highest scoring team in the NHL but we realize it might not go that way. We take a lot of pride playing good defensive hockey, creating our chances that way.”
Revenge of the backup goalies
OK, who had the Kings losing to No. 2 goalie Keith Kinkaid of the New Jersey Devils and No. 2 goalie Philipp Grubauer of the Washington Capitals?
Grubauer is 4-2-0 in his last nine appearances with a goals-against average of 1.64 and a .945 save percentage.
He was busy, too, facing 40 shots.
"[When] we play like that, we’re going to win a lot of hockey games,” Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “We created a lot of opportunities. Just a matter of putting one or two in the net. We had a lot of Grade-A looks but we couldn’t capitalize. This high-powered [Capitals] team, high-scoring team, they’re going to score one, maybe two and you’re going to have to score that, too. We came up just a little short.”
Reunion with Stick and Rick
Doughty admitted it was odd to look over to see former teammates Justin Williams (a.k.a. Stick) and Mike Richards (Rick) on the other side with the Capitals.
Williams is the man of many nicknames, also known as Willy and Mr. Game 7, for his playoff heroics.
The Capitals’ Andre Burakovsky, who scored the goal to make it 1-1 on a slick redirection, noted that it was special for Williams to get an assist on the game-winning goal, to make it 2-1, with 2:02 left in regulation.
“I think it’s a lot of fun for Willy to get a point against his old team and a win,” Burakovsky said. “I think our line had a really good game out there. I’m proud and I’m happy for Willy.”
Burakovsky noted that it didn’t feel like an ordinary regular-season game.
“We were kind of excited to play against these guys,” he said. “They already got two Cups and we’ve got none. We’re trying to be the best team in the league and if we want to be the best we have to take out the best. It felt like a playoff game.”
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