It could be that mournful country and western song. Any song about a lost dog, a lost love … or a lost hockey team.
The early days of the condensed schedule sent the Kings hopscotching through the West, from Los Angeles to Denver to Edmonton to Glendale, Ariz.
They weren’t able to leave Edmonton until about 1 a.m., hours after losing 2-1 in overtime to the Oilers. This meant the Kings arrived in Phoenix around 5 a.m. Friday and practice was canceled.
So far, the trip has been about wasted chances — on the power play, an inability to hold the lead and failure to solve the scoring woes dating back to the dark days of last season.
“I know everyone right now is pretty down with this loss,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said Thursday. “We get one point, which is a start. We should have won that game. We’re not happy with ourselves. It’s such a short season. Every game is so important.
“Going into the next one — no ifs, ands or buts — we’ve got to win that one.” Doughty’s importance has increased significantly with the absence of defensemen Willie Mitchell (knee) and Matt Greene, who had back surgery Thursday to repair a herniated disk. The team announced the surgery was successful. Mitchell has been practicing with his teammates all week.
Against the Oilers, Doughty played 33 minutes 25 seconds, two days after logging nearly 30 minutes at Colorado. His partner on defense, Rob Scuderi, put in 28-plus minutes against Edmonton.
The last time the Kings started the season this slowly was in 2001-02, when they opened with a tie and two losses. In 2007-08, they lost five of their first six games but did win their opener.
The power-play struggles are a focal point. The Kings have not scored on the power play in three games.
“I guess it’s a good thing we’re getting our chances,” Doughty said after the Kings went 0 for 8 on the power play Thursday, hitting a handful of posts. “But at the same time, I think we can be getting more chances. We’ve just got to bear down and score. We can’t use the bounces going the wrong way as an excuse.
“The guys on the power play are the guys who are counted on in the big moments like that. I think us power-play guys kind of failed the team tonight.”
Coyotes update Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith has been hit with that dreaded “lower body injury,” so former Kings goalie Jason LaBarbera started for the Coyotes against the Sharks on Thursday, blowing a third-period lead.
Left wing Steve Sullivan, brought in to replace Ray Whitney, has four goals in his last two games.