Maybe you missed this game. You were out enjoying your Sunday like a normal person. Maybe taking care of things you needed to get done for the week. Maybe you were on an airplane or in a car or, I don’t know, on the International Space Station or taking an internet sabbatical or dealing with something serious that was more important than a sportsball game.
You’re better off for it.
The Kings lost 5-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks in a game which they should have handily won. The Blackhawks were on a four-game losing streak, their defense is made up of a way-past-his-prime Duncan Keith and a handful of other completely interchangeable guys in sweaters (what is a Koekkoek exactly), and good goaltending can only solve so much.
Instead, the Kings looked lifeless from the start, and despite leading in shots and scoring chances for, Chicago goalie Robin Lehner didn’t exactly look to be under siege at many moments. Sloppy play from the Kings, including neutral zone and defensive zone turnovers, was the story of this game. Normally defensively sound players were getting stripped of the puck or losing battles against the boards. Except for in brief spurts of activity, there was little of the fire or tenacity or even interest in fighting back much that we’ve seen in other Kings losses.
Jack Campbell made 21 saves on 26 shots. Dustin Brown led the team with six shots on goal. The only Kings tally came from Sean Walker, his third of the season, off of a pass from Alex Iafallo.
After the game, Todd McLellan suggested the Kings may start to look to the Ontario Reign for help. Note, however, that there are few players who can be freely moved between the AHL and NHL: defensemen Sean Walker and Matt Roy and forwards Nikolai Prokhorkin, Austin Wagner, and Blake Lizotte are the only players on the roster who do not require waivers to be moved. The Kings only have 22 men on their roster at the moment, so they could call up one other player without needing to make a corresponding move.
"This trip was good because it let us know that there's some players that probably can't play in the league right now." - Head Coach Todd McLellan on the LA Kings road trip pic.twitter.com/BVxbaUQm9n— LA Kings (@LAKings) October 28, 2019
The Kings were expected to be bad this season, and a few spots of fun wins and highly competitive games do nothing to change the initial assessment that this team’s plan to rebuild is to stock up more prospects and go from there. Three consecutive losses, being outscored 15-4, drive that point home.
The Kings return back to Los Angeles and see game action next on Wednesday when they take on the Vancouver Canucks. Here’s to hoping they don’t get eight goals hung on them again.