Originally written on NHL Hot Stove  |  Last updated 6/28/14

In their second game of the season, the Los Angeles Kings defense crumbled as they lost to the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 4-2 on Saturday.


The O2 World arena in Berlin, Germany played host to the Los Angeles Kings and Buffalo Sabres on Saturday as part of the 2011-2012 Season’s opening weekend. The Kings looked to carry the momentum from yesterday’s game in Stockholm into Berlin, but it seems the Buffalo Sabres had other plans.

Any momentum the Kings had ran right into a wall.

Luke Adam put the Sabres on the scoreboard twice within the span of 2:20 early in the second period. Adam’s first goal came from a quick wrist shot over Kings goaltender Jonathan Bernier’s glove while the second goal was a tap in on a pass from Thomas Vanek. The Sabres’ other two goals came from Paul Gaustad and Drew Stafford.

The Kings attempted to mount a comeback in the third period, but it would prove to be too little too late against a Sabres team who spent much of the game driving hard at Bernier between the pipes. All four Sabres goals came from between the circles, an area the Kings defense usually excels at clearing out. Both of Adam’s goals were direct results of the Kings not clearing players from in front of Bernier. While it should be noted that it is only the second game of the season, the Kings would be wise to quickly resolve their coverage issues. Lack of consistent defensive coverage cost the Kings several games last season.

Photo Via Getty Images

Anze Kopitar, however, did prove to be the one highlight of the game for the Kings, scoring both goals. If there was any doubt about his performance this season after recovering from a broken leg last year, it is now gone. Kopitar recorded three goals and an assist on the Kings’ European trip.

While he has not recorded a goal yet, defenseman Drew Doughty is showing signs that he is ready to compete this season. Saturday’s game saw him with several close attempts on Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller and logging over 28 minutes on the ice.

Europe bids farewell to the Kings as they are now on their way back to the United States – but not home. Two more road games await the team when their plane lands at Newark. The Kings will have the next few days to practice before taking on the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.

Chris Van Deusen
NHLHS Los Angeles Kings Correspondent
Twitter – @TheCrazyWhls


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