Penguins 3, Kings 2, SO
KANSAS CITY -- The good news for the Kings is that goalie Jonathan Bernier
made 39 saves Tuesday night. The bad news is that Bernier needed to make 39 saves.
From a personal standpoint, Bernier couldn’t have asked for a better workout than the one he got in the Kings’ 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins before an announced sellout crowd of 17,779 at Sprint Center.
Bernier, playing his first full game of the preseason, didn’t exactly get to ease into things. He played 65 minutes -- during which he had to help kill a 5-on-3 disadvantage -- then went eight rounds of a shootout before being beat by Matt Niskanan.
``It’s good. I like it,’’ Bernier said. ``It’s preseason. It’s there’s to get back in form for the season coming up soon. I don’t think I could ask for better than that.’’
Bernier’s play was the clear highlight for the Kings, who got a Jarret Stoll
goal early in the first period and looked strong halfway through the game but then suffered some deep breakdowns as the Penguins took control of the game.
Pittsburgh scored two goals in the first 9:07 of the third period, before the Kings even recorded a single shot on goal. The Kings tied the game with Alec Martinez
’s power-play goal with 6:17 remaining in regulation and held on to force the shootout.
The Kings went 1-for-2 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill but were outshot 41-19. The Kings dropped to 1-1-2 in the preseason, with another game Wednesday against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver.
``We were giving up a lot of chances, but it wasn’t from a lack of effort,’’ Kings captain Dustin Brown
said. ``That might have been the difference from (Sunday’s loss to) Anaheim. We had no energy (then). It’s time to work through that, and that’s what the preseason is for, is getting through the regular season. So we had a lot better effort tonight.’’
The Kings mixed and matched their forwards against Pittsburgh, not using any of their normal line combinations, but essentially had a full complement of NHL-caliber defensemen, with only Willie Mitchell
getting the night off.
It wasn’t a big surprise, then, that the Kings did a solid job on defense for the first 30 minutes but had limited offensive success. In the final 30 minutes, the scoring chances dried up further and the Penguins had scoring chances by the handfuls.
``We made real strong decisions in the first period,’’ coach Terry Murray said, ``and then the one shift with Stoll and Brown and (Dwight) King, they had a really good extended shift in the second period, but after that, then we got away from managing the puck to give us more looks like that. And they [the Penguins] started to get those turnovers and they were attacking hard with four. So we put ourselves in a little bit of a situation there, where we relied on our goaltender a little too much.’’
Deryk Engelland tied the game 1-1, 3:45 into the third period, but the Kings seemed to catch a major break when they killed all of a Pittsburgh 5-on-3 power play that lasted 1:43. Just after it ended, though, Chris Kunitz gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead.
The game started the Kings’ way, as they got the only goal of the first period.
Martinez’s point shot got deflected on its way to the net, and Stoll crashed the net from the right side to knock the puck in before Fleury could recover. Dustin Brown
also got an assist on the even-strength goal, 4:31 into the first period.
After a scoreless second period, the Penguins outshot the Kings 15-3 and took the lead.
The Penguins beat Bernier for the first time 3:45 into the third period, when Engelland took a pass in open ice on the right side and beat Bernier with a sharp wrist shot. Assists went to Joe Morrow and Eric Tangradi.
The Kings killed Pittsburgh’s lengthy two-man advantage, but the Penguins took the lead seven seconds after it ended with an even-strength goal. Kunitz crashed the net and tapped in a centering pass from Tyler Kennedy. The goal came 9:07 into the third period, at which point the Kings had still not recorded a shot on goal in the period.
On the Kings’ third shot on goal of the period, they tied the game with 6:17 remaining in regulation. With Trent Hunter running traffic in front of Fleury, Stoll shot from the outside of the right faceoff circle. The rebound kicked left, to Martinez, who pinched down and scored before Fleury could scramble right. The goal came with two seconds remaining on a power play, and Justin Williams
also got an assist.
After one goal per team in the first three rounds of the shootout, it went to sudden death. Bernier and Fleury traded four saves before, in the eighth round, Fleury stopped Trevor Lewis
and Niskanan beat Bernier with a wrist shot.
``Bernier looked very sharp,’’ Murray said. ``Again, this was a real good test for him, I thought, with (Evegni) Malkin in the lineup. They probably had three-quarters of their team going here tonight. He had a good performance. I’m sure he looked at the other end and saw one of his buddies there, in Fleury. The challenge was on, and they both played well.’’