Kings doomed by dismal start

Curtis Zupke, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Hockey

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Los Angeles Kings general manager Rob Blake was fairly adamant that he wasn't going to make any rash decisions based on this losing stretch.

With the Feb. 26 trade deadline coming into focus, Blake said before the Kings played the Vancouver Canucks that their deficiencies wouldn't heavily impact his deadline strategy.

"I don't think it's winning or losing that's going to create that (activity)," Blake said.

The Kings made a pretty good case to change his mind Tuesday. A 6-2 loss at Rogers Arena began with familiar futility and descended from there. They allowed four goals in the first 10 minutes and only got scores from Alex Iafallo and Anze Kopitar in their seventh loss in eight games.

Jonathan Quick wasn't his best but also received scant defensive support and was removed after five goals allowed on 19 shots. The six goals were the most the Kings have allowed this season, and it came against the 14th place team in the Western Conference. Quick did not look like he wanted to leave but Kings coach John Stevens put in Darcy Kuemper.

"If I could have put them both in the net tonight, I would have left them both in," Stevens said. "They were the least guys I could blame."

The Kings have been outscored 11-1 in the first period of their past seven games. Tuesday's start was dumbfounding given the Kings had just ended a six-game losing streak and are trying to climb back into playoff position.

"Whether you're in first place or last place, it doesn't matter," Kopitar said. (It's) very disappointing on our part. We got a big win two days ago, and coming in here, knowing that we need the two points just because we know where we are in the standings. To have it turn out the way it did is disappointing."

The talk here beforehand concerned the future of Vancouver's Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who are both in the final seasons of their contracts. Henrik Sedin said Tuesday morning that they could give management an indication of their intentions before trade deadline. Asked what factors will play into their decision, Henrik Sedin said, "There's family, there's how we feel physically and mentally. There's a lot of different things."

But it was another veteran forward, Loui Eriksson, who singlehandedly staked Vancouver to a 3-0 lead with two goals and an assist. He tapped in a loose puck 62 seconds in, buried Bo Horvat's pass on a two-on-one and sprung Thomas Vanek, who ripped a slap shot past Quick at 5:49.


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