On Halloween’s Eve, the Los Angeles Kings hosted its Pacific Division rival in the Vancouver Canucks. The game featured many successful and failed power plays, milestones reached and hundreds of fans in costumes.
Most importantly, the same issues the team has been dealing with all season are still lingering. Here are a few takeaways from the contest.
Kings’ Penalty Kill Woes Continue
For the first time this season, the Kings (4-9-1) allowed four power play goals that ultimately led to a 5-3 loss against the Canucks (8-3-1). Vancouver had six opportunities overall, four of which came in the final 7:42 of the opening period.
Adding Kyle Clifford’s major for fighting with Micheal Ferland, the Kings drew 13 penalty minutes in the first period alone. Luckily for the Kings, they only had a one-goal deficit at the end of the first 20 minutes — but the flawed penalty kill set the tone for the rest of the game.
“Taking penalties, and a lot of them were stick penalties, is flat out unacceptable,” Anze Kopitar said in a post-game interview with FOX Sports West’s Carrlyn Bathe. “We got to be more disciplined.”
The power play momentum had a great chance to shift to the Kings in the third period. The Canucks allowed three straight man-advantage opportunities, but none were converted. Instead, on Vancouver’s last power play attempt after killing the penalties, Los Angeles gave up its fourth power play goal of the game to Elias Pettersson.
The Canucks went 4-for-6 on the power play, while killing 5-of-6 penalties they committed. Head coach Todd McLellan commented on the team’s struggling penalty kill and added the possibility of seeing more line changes.
“The penalty kill is the story here,” McLellan said in a postgame interview. “We can talk about lines and combinations and sitting guys out and all that other stuff. But the penalty kill is the story.” (from “Todd McLellan ‘sends a message’ to Tyler Toffoli that’s also meant for underachieving Kings,” The AthleticNHL — 10/31/19)
The loss extended the Kings’ losing streak to four games. They’ve allowed five goals in each of those contests.
Anze Kopitar Records 900th Career Point
At 3:53 in the first period, Kopitar reached 900 career points by adding an assist on Jeff Carter’s third goal of the season. He recorded another assist in the second period on Adrian Kempe’s power play goal.
Carter’s goal came on Los Angeles’ first shot of the game. As the first line gained momentum into the zone, Alec Martinez found Kopitar up the middle, who then dished the puck to Carter for the goal.
“Well, it will probably take a little while before that sinks in,” Kopitar said in a postgame interview. “I knew it was coming up. The last couple of games I didn’t get any points, so I figured it would be a good time to do it tonight. Unfortunately, it’s bittersweet because we lost.”
Kopitar became the fifth player in franchise history to hit the milestone. He joined Marcel Dionne (1,307), Luc Robitaille (1,154), Dave Taylor (1,069) and Wayne Gretzky (918).
Canucks’ Second Line was Unstoppable
In addition to Vancouver’s execution on the power play, its second line dominated the Kings for the entire game. The trio of Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and defenseman Quinn Hughes combined for 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists). At least one of them were involved in each scoring play.
J.T. Miller was also featured on the line and added an assist. Bo Horvat, who tallied a goal and assist, saw some ice time with both Boeser and Pettersson.
“They were finding seams, picking pockets, scoring goals like it was no [problem] tonight,” Horvat said of Boeser and Pettersson in a post-game interview. “They’re fun to watch, fun to play with those guys on the power play, and my job is to give ’em outs in the middle.”
The Kings will have time to adjust before facing them again on Dec. 28 in Vancouver.
Quick’s Slow Start Goes On
Although Wednesday’s defeat weighed heavily on the defense and penalty kill, it still goes as another loss for Jonathan Quick (2-6-0). The Connecticut native recorded a season-high 44 saves while facing the Vancouver power play six times.
He has now allowed 14 goals in his last three starts and holds an .865 save percentage through nine games. Time is running out for the 33-year-old, and if he doesn’t find a way to escape the slump, he’ll be sitting on the bench instead of being in the crease.
Los Angeles will look to rebound against another struggling franchise in the Chicago Blackhawks (3-6-2) on Saturday. The Blackhawks have lost five out of their last six games — the lone win coming against the Kings last Sunday.
Sara Biela is a Los Angeles Kings contributor for The Hockey Writers. Biela graduated from San Jose State University in 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. She covered SJSU Athletics and the San Jose Sharks through the college’s student-run sports-media publication, The Spear.