The defending Stanley Cup champions faced quite a clean-up challenge after their season-opening loss.
After the joyous celebration of their banner raising, the Kings staggered to a 5-2 loss to the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.
Here are just some of the issues facing this team one game into the 48-game sprint:
- With top center Anze Kopitar sidelined with a knee injury, LA had no power play. The Kings went 0-for-5 with the man advantage.
- The Simon Gagne-Mike Richards-Dustin Brown line was a mess at even strength, running up a minus-9 tab.
- The best LA forward line was the fourth grouping of to Kyle Clifford, Colin Fraser and Jordan Nolan. “It was really physical and they scored a couple of goals on the forecheck, which you hope they get rewarded,” coach Darryl Sutter told reporters. That’s great, but as the old hockey adage goes, “your best players have to be your best players.”
- The Kings defense, minus the injured Willie Mitchell, did an unfortunate job screening goaltender Jonathan Quick. One Chicago goal caromed in off of Drew Doughty and another deflected off of Alec Martinez.
- Then again, Quick could have played better in the nets. He allowed five goals in a game for just the second time in his career. “When it came down to it, to make the big save, to keep the team, the score close, I wasn't able to do it,” Quick told reporters.
Perhaps a couple of hard practice days – combined wit Kopitar’s return – will get the Kings back on track.