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Unpossible! Kings Finally Lose at Home.
It finally happened. The Los Angeles Kings lost at STAPLES Center. It was the Columbus Blue Jackets who did the honors winning 5-3.
“This is a game we should have won,” defenseman Matt Greene said. “We’re up by a goal in the third period. We’ve got to lock those games down. That’s what good teams do.”
After leading 3-2 early in the third period, the Kings defense broke down allowing Jared Boll to get to Kyle Wilson’s blocked shot and put it past goalie Jonathan Quick.
Even then the reality didn’t hit the sold out crowd until Rick Nash who had been silent all night came alive with the winning goal at 16:48. Reality started to rain down for a brief moment, then they started cheering with more urgency not wanting these Blue Jackets to be the one that ended the streak.
Drew Doughty had a great scoring chance: denied.
After pulling Quick for the extra attacker in the final minute, Nash scored the empty-netter with 38.5 seconds left turning the crowd around.
“We kind of let this one slip away,” Dustin Brown said.
Offensively the team had their chances. In the opening 5:15 of the game the first line of Anze Kopitar, Brown and Brad Richardson, in for the injured Scott Parse, had four great scoring chances. In fact the Kings outshot the Blue Jackets 36-26.
“We moved the puck really well,” head coach Terry Murray noted. “We had a lot of looks the other way. I was really happy with the offensive opportunities.”
In their first power-play opportunity of the game, despite taking 20 seconds to get an entry pass through the blue line, Kopitar’s shot from the right point ricocheted off of goalie Steve Mason onto the fortunate stick of Michal Handzus who stuck it through at 9:06 to tie the game 1-1.
In the second period trailing 2-1, after Stoll won a faceoff in the Jackets zone getting the puck to Drew Doughty, Ryan Smyth took the ricochet and wrapped around the net forcing the puck through Mason at 18:38 even forcing the net to be dislodged. Review upheld the goal to tie the game.
Justin Williams gave the Kings their first lead of the game at 1:25 extending his point streak to a career-high 11 games (7-7=14.)
But that lead was very short-lived thanks to Boll’s goal two minutes later thanks to defensive lapses.
“Their first goal and their third goal I thought were breakdowns where it was easy for them,” Murray said. “We lost our coverage and they were able to keep themselves alive there.”
Greene took personal responsibility for the loss.
“In terms of defense you have to think a little bit more on how we act and right now, personally, I’m not doing it,” Greene said.
The Kings now head off to the Northeast for a four-game road trip against the Buffalo Sabres, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens.