LA Kings vs Vancouver Canucks Game 65 Recap: Kings Can’t Overcome Trap Game, Fall 4-3

(Almost) everything that can wrong does for Kings as Canucks score early and often despite being the clearly inferior team.

The Los Angeles Kings are having a woefully unlucky season offensively. At 5v5, they remain one of the worst in the NHL, loitering with such contenders as the Colorado Avalanche, the Philadelphia Flyers, and Florida Panthers. In all situations, they drop to third worst. So it’s really no surprise then that somehow the Vancouver Canucks managed to score twice in the first period while the Kings had nothing to show for their efforts.

[Box Score]

While the scoresheet would suggest a close game, the eye test contradicts that. The Kings looked good early on and tested Ryan Miller a few times, but weren’t able to get anything past him.

To wit, an unlucky, but not a terrible period overall. Sven Baertschi and Henrik Sedin (the puck deflected off Drew Doughty’s stick) were credited with Vancouver’s goals.

Things got really bad in the second period, though. It started when the Kings turned the puck over and Bo Horvat beat out three defenders on a breakaway (yeah, that’s bad). His shot deflected off of Ben Bishop and then Nic Dowd kicked it into the net.

Dowd was a player to watch in our Game Day Watch due to his scoring drought. Good news: He broke his goalless streak. Bad news: it was against his own team. This was at least the second marker in which LA had scored on themselves. Yeah, it was that kind of game.

The above image shows the  wide discrepancy between the two teams. By all accounts, the Kings were clearly outworking the Canucks and it wasn’t just because they were down by four. However, they didn’t give up and were eventually rewarded with a power play goal thanks to Anze Kopitar. And because of the season they’ve been having, we would be remiss if we didn’t remind you of this:

In the third period, both Trevor Lewis and Alec Martinez scored but that was as close as LA got. Despite the Canucks trying their best to give things away in the final frame, the Kings simply didn’t have the offensive firepower to overcome such a hefty deficit. By the time the home team started scoring, it was too little far too late. Throughout the game, the Canucks were whistled for seven penalties and the Kings managed to score twice on the man-advantage and once shorthanded. They did not score any goals at even-strength.

The final numbers are hilariously sad.

It’s even worse unadjusted: The corsi is 59 to 29 and the scoring chances were doubled at 31 to 15 to go along with the 11 scoring chances and 3 high danger chances, all in LA’s favor.

The one bright spot in this game: Adrian Kempe. Darryl Sutter muttered something about compete level and the young Swede certainly wasn’t lacking in that department tonight, picking up two assists. Unfortunately, Marian Gaborik, who started off strong, seemed like his energy waned as the game wore on.

Jarome Iginla saw his ice time drop a few minutes from the last game. There were only two penalties that LA had to kill so special teams couldn’t have been a factor and it’s not like Sutter leaned especially heavily on him for the power play as he played less than two minutes on the man advantage. Tanner Pearson, Jeff Carter and Kopitar were the only forwards who were on every power play.

Thanks to a horribly stupid schedule, the Kings now have four days off. When they come back, they’ll face the Nashville Predators (currently third in their division). With this loss, LA is now eight points behind Calgary and tied in games played. The St. Louis Blues lost their last game, but have two games in hand and only need two points to take over the final wild card spot. There are 12 games remaining, three of which are head-to-head with Calgary. Those 24 points are going to mean an awful lot.