Kings lose in stinker to Flyers, exposing their worrisome points

In lower than 48 hours the Kings went from the chic — a dramatic shootout victory over defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado — to the ridiculous, with a torpid effort in a 4-2 loss to the struggling Philadelphia Flyers at Area.

The Kings’ defensemen have been turned inside out too many instances. Their penalty killing unit gave up a objective for the tenth straight recreation, leaving them twenty eighth within the league. Their energy play was scored upon, too, permitting Noah Cates to finish a Philadelphia comeback on an extended shot that acquired previous a screened Jonathan Fast at 13:01 of the third interval.

The Flyers cemented it with an empty-net objective, however the three objectives they scored on Fast have been all excessive on his glove (left) facet. He’s winless in his previous 5 begins, having final earned a victory on Dec. 1. Since then, Pheonix Copley has gotten the majority of the enjoying time.

“It’s what it is,” coach Todd McLellan mentioned of Fast’s efficiency. “And whether it’s Jonathan Quick or anybody else, that’s the way it goes, and we have a ton of confidence in him.”

It was worrisome. Perhaps sufficient for the Kings so as to add a goaltender to their purchasing record, together with a brawny, left-handed capturing defenseman.

The Kings’ insufficient particular groups play and failure to place two passes collectively within the early going additionally have been key elements in consigning them to defeat. “We probably got what we deserved today,” McLellan mentioned.

Kings goalie Jonathan Fast can’t cease a shot by Philadelphia’s Scott Laughton through the first interval Saturday.

(Ringo H.W. Chiu / Related Press)

No “probably” about it. This was a stinker on an event the Kings (21-13-6) wanted one thing significantly better, one thing assured and clear and commanding.

Earlier than they discovered Saturday the Kings had constructed a seven-game level streak (6-0-1) that lifted them inside two factors of Pacific Division-leading Vegas. They’re nonetheless second, however the hole is now 4 factors. Additionally, the Kings have performed extra video games than Vegas and extra video games than the groups behind them, Edmonton, Calgary, and Seattle. The Kings’ factors share of .600 (48 factors out of a doable 80) ranked thirteenth within the NHL after their loss Saturday.

“The game was right there. It’s not like we let it slip in the first or in the second. We just didn’t get the job done, that’s what it was,” Anze Kopitar mentioned.

There’s lots of hockey to be performed; the Kings will attain the midway level of the season on Tuesday, after they play host to Central Division-leading Dallas. To McLellan, the day-to-day standings matter lower than the large image of how the Kings are progressing of their objective to make an affect within the Stanley Cup playoffs this season, and never simply make the playoffs. This recreation didn’t transfer them ahead.

“We’re still putting things in place and we’re trying to keep our game growing. We shrunk a little tonight. We gave a little bit back. We all know that,” McLellan mentioned. “But we’ve got to get back on the horse and ride it again. If there’s a horse in front of us right now, so be it. We’ve got to make sure that ours is in good shape and ready to run, and that’s where we’re at.”

The Kings scored first on Saturday, with Adrian Kempe capitalizing on a five-on-three benefit at 9:46 of the primary interval. Scott Laughton matched that for the Flyers at 12:15 throughout an influence play, unleashing a one-timer after being arrange by Anaheim Hills native Cam York.

Kings forward Phillip Danault controls the puck in front of Philadelphia Flyers forward Kevin Hayes.

Kings ahead Phillip Danault, left, controls the puck in entrance of Philadelphia Flyers ahead Kevin Hayes through the second interval Saturday.

(Ringo H.W. Chiu / Related Press)

Phillip Danault put the Kings forward at 13:12 with a slap shot off the push, extending his level streak to seven video games, with 5 objectives and 9 factors in that span. However the Flyers pulled even at 9:02 of the second interval on a objective by Owen Tippett previous Fast’s left arm and took the lead for good on Cates’ short-handed objective, off a counterattack. Travis Konecny sealed it by scoring into the empty web with 27 seconds left.

“They got a power play and a shorty,” Kopitar mentioned, “and that ended up to be the difference, which is unfortunate but sometimes that’s the way it goes.”

The loss spoiled a particular second for defenseman Alex Edler, who performed his 1,000th regular-season NHL recreation. Gamers wore particular hats with “1000” throughout warmups, and every participant’s locker had a nameplate that featured Edler and commemorated the event.

“It was a hard-fought game from start to finish. They worked hard. They battled hard. I think they came out a little bit better than us and we came back,” mentioned Edler, who performed the primary 924 regular-season video games of his profession with Vancouver earlier than signing with the Kings in 2021 and re-signing this previous summer time.

“I think we believe in ourselves. We want to be up there. I think early on in the year we were a little bit inconsistent. We’ve been better lately. We’ve been finding our game a little more. And we’ve just got to understand the way we need to play to win games.”

The best way ahead can’t embody repeats of lackluster efforts like they gave on Saturday.