What did all of those numbers add up to? One bittersweet game.
With a decimated roster, in the finale of a three-games-in-four-nights road trip, the Kings battled to the end, but were unable to steal a point in the standings as they lost 2-1 to the Calgary Flames on Thursday night at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
The loss, coupled with
``I think we all know that we've got a couple games in hand, so they've got to catch up,’’ Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. ``It's going to be tough if they're all winning their games, but I think we'll be fine. It's good to get this rest. We have played so many games in so few days.
``It's been tough for us. A lot of guys are battling through injuries and still playing, and some guys are out completely, so after this break we'll get pretty much everyone back and we'll be a great team. Not that we weren't, but we'll be even better.’’
With one more good break Thursday, the Kings would have soared into their eight-day forced sabbatical. Corey Elkins’ first NHL goal, with 8:54 left in the third period, pulled the Kings within 2-1, and they had several excellent chances to tie the game.
The Kings outshot the Flames 16-3 in the third period – and 35-24 for the game – but the Kings weren’t able to overcome two devastating
The first game with 0.9 seconds left in the first period, on a Dion Phaneuf slap shot, and the second came 1:02 into the third period, courtesy of Nigel Dawes. The Kings got fantastic play from goalie Jonathan Quick, who made 22 saves, but couldn’t solve one of the NHL’s top goalies, Miikka Kiprusoff, who came up big in the third period.
``I felt, at the end of the second period, that we were going to win this game,’’ Kings winger Justin Williams said. ``I felt like we seemed to have them tired and we seemed to have a jump on them all night. They got a quick goal in the third period, yeah, and that was somewhat deflating, just like their first goal, but we felt like we kept at it and we had a real chance to do it.’’
Even with the loss, the Kings finished with a 7-2-1 in a stretch of 10 games in 17 games, a grueling schedule for even the healthiest of teams, which the Kings certainly are not.
``If you had told us we would go 7-2-1, we'd jump on that,’’ Williams said. ``If you go 7-2-1 in any 10-game stretch, you're going to be first in the league. But we feel we deserved a better fate.’’
Already without key contributors Ryan Smyth and Wayne Simmonds, the Kings lost Jarret Stoll to a groin injury Monday in
So on Thursday, the Kings patched together a roster that would have looked pretty good for a preseason game. It included a rookie defensive pairing of Davis Drewiske and Alec Martinez, regular fourth-liner Brad Richardson playing on the second line and Elkins, in his second NHL game, centering the third line.
And all the hobbled Kings had to do was face a large, physical, defensive-oriented
``They [the Flames] came out with a real hard, heavy game, a gritty game here,’’ Kings coach Terry Murray said. ``You take a look at our lineup, and they're seeing a lot of guys that we've called up from the American league, and they want to push us out of the game with a lot of heavy play. I was real proud of our guys in that sense, that we didn't go away.’’
The Kings were less than a second away from completing a first-period stalemate with
Seemingly unbowed, the Kings put tremendous pressure on the Flames over the final four minutes of a scoreless second period, but couldn’t beat Kiprusoff
The Kings had great momentum at the end of the second period, but the Flames scored 1:02 into the third period. Daymond Langkow got the puck behind the net and the Kings were slow to react as Langkow fed a quick centering pass to Dawes. With
The Kings pulled back within one goal with 8:54 remaining in the third period. Moller, behind the net, centered to Elkins, who had gone strong to the net. Elkins beat Kiprusoff from right in front of the net.
``Guys in this room, we want to win every game,’’ Kings defenseman Matt Greene said. ``Tonight stings because we felt we were right there and we had our chances. There were just a couple mistakes where, maybe if we were on the other end, we win 1-0.’’
The Kings will take off Friday, Saturday and Sunday, then return for three days in practice in El Segundo starting Tuesday. The Kings’ next game is Dec. 26 at Phoenix.