Kings squander chances in loss to Red Wings

LOS ANGELES — Opportunities were there but the Kings didn’t seize them.

The severely slumping Kings met the inconsistent Red Wings Saturday night at the Staples Center with inconsistent play of their own. They outshot Detroit 45-26 but the scoreboard didn’t reflect the wide margin, as the Kings ultimately lost 3-1.

It was the seventh loss in the last nine games. It followed a strong winning streak and even more frustrating was the fact that the team had chances and only converted on one — a first-period Drew Doughty slapshot in a 5-on-3 power play.

"We had some opportunities on some rushes where we didn’t get a shot off," said center Anze Kopitar. "We have to bear down a lot better on the opportunities."

"You’ve got to finish your chances," said winger Justin Williams. "You can’t win every game 1-0, 2-1, shootout. We certainly had enough chances to win the game tonight and we didn’t do it."

Each Kings skater recorded at least one shot with Mike Richards getting off a game-high eight. The game was tied 1-1 late in the first period after Riley Sheahan scored his first NHL goal and remained even until 12 minutes into the third.

Sheahan again threw one on net but goaltender Jonathan Quick blocked, sending the puck into the slot where Tomas Tatar picked it up and buried it to give the Red Wings a 2-1 lead.

It was a dangerous combination. Sheahan has proved dangerous and Tatar was playing with an emotional edge to him, as his father passed away earlier this week.

"As I’m sure you know, my dad passed away two days ago," Tatar said. "This game and my goal were for him."

The effort was there, the edge is what the Kings have been missing.

"We need to play with an edge," Kopitar said. "And when we play with an edge, that’s when we play our best hockey."

The Kings have looked content on the perimeter during this recent stretch and it was asked if they should possibly be crashing the nets harder. Head coach Darryl Sutter was particularly unhappy with the way the team held on to the puck in the second period, unwilling to attack.

But the notion was quickly shot down. There were chances, and the Kings simply didn’t capitalize.

"Anyone can look at that and say if you don’t score a goal, you’re not getting in traffic you’re not getting shots, you’re not getting rebounds," Williams said. "We were there tonight. I thought we had multiple chances to score on second chances and rush opportunities and it didn’t happen."

The Kings still maintain third place in the Pacific Division with 59 points but Monday’s game against divison foe Vancouver (57 points) has become much more important as the team looks to stop the streak.