Dallas Stars @ Los Angeles Kings Game 64 Recap: Kings run out of gas again in the third, Lose 4-3 in overtime

Kings 10-game losing streak is the third longest in franchise history.

111-Word Recap

Despite Quick making one brilliant save after the other, he couldn’t stop Roope Hintz in overtime as he put through the game winner 3:19 into overtime, lifting the Dallas Stars into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Stars are a point ahead of Minnesota and Colorado, while Arizona is only two points back.

The Kings remained at the bottom of the Western Conference despite strong games from Kopitar (2G, 1A), Tyler Toffoli (1A, 6 SOG, 20:02 TOI), Matt Roy (8 blocks, 17:44 TOI), and Brendan Leipsic (1G). Tyler Seguin and Mattias Janmark had Dallas’ other goals, while Ben Lovejoy also had two assists. Anton Khudobin made 27 saves.

The Revival of the Jim Anderson Era Continues

Have you ever loaned someone something important to you? Ever loan someone your car? If you have, you have to know that feeling that something will go wrong when they have it. A dent in the door, a mysterious sound in the engine, even if the person you loan it to puts in 87 gas instead of 91. Every minute away from your car is an eternity.

This is the way I feel with interim coach Willie Desjardins. Kings management decided that John Stevens was the wrong fit (he was) and, in a decision no one can figure out or defend, turned the keys over to Desjardins for the rest of the season. What did Willie do? He treated the Los Angeles Kings like an Enterprise rental car with the insurance maxed out and he was being chased by the police.

Now that it’s nearing time to give the car back, it’s clear that he’s broken the team. They aren’t capable of winning any more, as evidenced by the last 10 games:

  • At Boston—5-4 (overtime loss)
  • At Washington—6-4 (loss)
  • Home vs. Vancouver—4-3 (shootout loss)
  • Home vs. Boston—4-2 (loss)
  • Home vs. Washington—3-2 (loss)
  • At Nashville—2-1 (loss)
  • At Florida—6-1 (loss)
  • At Tampa Bay—4-3 (shootout loss)
  • At Carolina—6-1 (loss)
  • Home vs. Dallas—4-3 (overtime loss)/

For the moment, throw out the Florida and Carolina losses and look at the other eight games. These games were tight games with one overriding theme: the Kings ran out of gas in every single one of those games. They simply have nothing left because Willie Desjardins overplays his core. In the last ten games—all losses (0-6-4)—the big three, aka, the three players who won’t be traded before the June draft or anytime soon thereafter, are averaging huge minutes:

  • Anze Kopitar (22:53 TOI)
  • Dustin Brown (20:11 TOI)
  • Drew Doughty (27:52 TOI)/

Tonight was another example of player mismanagement. The big three played their average overused TOI, while the future (Matt Luff, Austin Wagner, Jonny Brodzinski) played less than 30 minutes combined. It showed on the ice too, with the Kings failing to hold 2-0 and 3-2 leads. If not for this miracle save, the game would have effectively been over with less than five minutes left in the game:

This happened just two days after Quick started the not-so-silent rebellion on Willie D.’s poor decision making vs. the Carolina Hurricanes:

Then, after the game, Willie channeled his inner brown-noser in a not-so-transparent attempt to quell the anger that boils within the greatest goalie in Kings’ history:

All of this over-coaching, under-coaching, and poor coaching leads the LA faithful to believe that the damage Willie D. has done will extend past 2018-19. Not only is he potentially shortening the careers of Doughty, Brown  and Kopitar, but he’s wasting valuable development time for players the young guys, who should be getting 13-17 minutes a night and being put out on the penalty kill and power plays.

I warned all of you on November 26th that it was going to go like this for the duration of the season. I wasn’t wrong. I will stick to my insistence on inviting Desjardins to the Jack Hughes retirement ceremony in 25 years. We couldn’t have done it without him.

However, I’m worried more than ever that he’s already wrecked this team for this year and the damage he’s caused could extend to the coming seasons.

And that would be a shame.

GAME NOTES: Leipsic’s goal was the Kings’ first power-play goal in six games and was their first goal on the man advantage in its last 15 opportunities … Dallas center Andrew Cogliano missed his first game due to injury in his 12-year career … Dallas LW Jamie Benn and Los Angeles LW Ilya Kovalchuk were both scratched due to upper-body injuries ... This was only the sixth game this season where the Kings had scored two or more goals in the first period. ... This is the first loss of the season for the Kings where they scored the first goal of the game (9-1-0) … Seguin has eight goals and 19 points in 21 career games against the Kings.

Kings Highlights:

Kings 1. Stars 0.

Kings 2. Stars 0.

Kings 3. Stars 2.


Next: The Chicago Blackhawks visit Staples Center on Saturday in a rematch of the 2014 Western Conference Final.