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Kings Sing the Blues

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Perhaps being in the midst of losing six of their last seven games was not the time to bring in the Dodgers mojo, but on it went with manager Don Mattingly dropping the ceremonial puck to start the game. So it really came as no surprise to see the Kings lose to the St. Louis Blues 3-1.

But the Kings continued to show no sense of urgency with the looming February roadtrip as they were outplayed by the Blues who were trying to break their own five-game losing streak. But don't tell that to the team.

“There were a lot of positives of today's game, but the big negative is that we lost,” Jarret Stoll said.

“I thought we played pretty good here tonight,” head coach Terry Murray said.

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Murray tried to change things up reuniting the first line of Ryan Smyth, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams from last season, but that was short lived as Murray replaced Williams with Dustin Brown in the third period while putting defensemen Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson together to generate some offense.

“You put them together to get some goals,” Murray said. “That didn't happen, but they were doing the right thing - keeping pucks in, they were pinching, they were aggressive, they were skating with the puck.”

Obviously it didn't work.

With the slump the Kings have been in losing six of their last seven games, it's inexplicable there hasn't been a return to basics - getting the puck to the net and putting bodies in front. Even Smyth agreed with that point saying that to get back to winning they needed to, “simplify things, just stick to the game plan, simplifying and getting the puck in deep.”

After all that's how they got their lone goal during their good play at the start of the second period.

As the penalty to Roman Polak expired, defenseman Alec Martinez's first shot from the high slot was saved by Jaroslav Halak and bounced right back to him. He tried it a second time, and Michal Handzus in front of the net tipped it in at 5:37 in the second period to tie the game.

But they couldn't continue to build on that thanks to the collapse of their defense. After all this is the same team that gave up 39 goals in their first 17 games but have now given up 33 during their last eight games. And this game had similar defensive miscues.

Later in the second period as Jack Johnson went for the hit after Philip McRae shot the puck, no one filled the back-end of the play allowing Ryan Reaves to lunge for the rebound and score the winning goal at 14:16.

“Your D-zone coverage is especially critical, and you've got to have the right positioning in order to shut the opposition down,” Murray said.

So to review, the defense isn't working. The offense isn't working. The weekly line changes aren't working. If something doesn't change soon, then the Kings will probably have to make some drastic changes to wake the team up.

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