"Edmonton Spoilers, AMIRITE?"
-everyone on Twitter, probably
Controlling your own destiny doesn't mean much if this is how you control it. A night after slowly losing their grasp on the lead in a shootout loss to Vancouver, the Kings never even got a hold of the game in a 4-2 loss to lowly Edmonton.
The two goaltenders in this game were completely different than the three men who minded the nets in last Thursday's 8-2 drubbing of the Oilers in Los Angeles. Richard Bachman started in goal tonight for the Oilers, while Martin Jones got a rare start for the visiting Kings. With no Tyler Bunz in the building, the Oilers looked like a different team. After playing a roughly even first period, they opened up the scoring in the second period when a Martin Marincin shot went wide, took a generous bounce off the end boards, and landed in front of a wide open Matt Fraser, who had not trouble converting. Fraser found himself in front of the net sans defender thanks to some confusion between Brayden McNabb and Matt Greene, who both initially started toward Fraser after the face-off but then both abruptly decided to go somewhere else. 1-0 Edmonton.
The Kings temporarily tied the game with a Jake Muzzin power-play goal a few minutes later, thanks again to the largesse of the Edmonton boards. Anze Kopitar's shot from the right went wide off the boards and right to Muzzin, who buried it from the short left side. Shortly thereafter, the Kings looked to be on the verge of establishing their first decent forecheck of the game when Trevor Lewis, alone at the blue line with Muzzin pinching in, had his pockets picked by Benoit Pouliot. Pouliot took the puck in toward Martin Jones in what looked very much like a Marian Gaborik shootout attempt, except it was successful. 2-1 Edmonton.
In the third period, Drew Doughty laughably scored from the red line for his first power-play goal of the season, but it was sandwiched by Edmonton goals from Tyler Pitlick (again after a nice rebound off the end boards) and Fraser (on an empty net with 1.4 seconds left).
The Kings led Edmonton by a large margin in shots on goal and possession, but seemed out of sync against an opportunistic Oilers squad. Even ever-gracious Kopitar was out of sorts, breaking his stick over the goal post in anger as the final buzzer sounded.
Next up: a true must-win in Calgary on Thursday. The Kings aren't completely done after this loss, but they'll need a little help if they want to keep their Cup defense alive. In the meantime, what do you think went wrong tonight?