NHL: Kings, Sharks seek consistency after tough losses
The Los Angeles Kings will try to snap a three-game losing streak on Friday night when they travel to San Jose to face the Sharks.
Both teams are coming off disappointing losses. The Kings jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead against the visiting New York Rangers on Tuesday, gave up three consecutive goals in the second period to fall behind, 3-2, tied it on a Sean Walker goal in the third before Chris Kreider scored twice to give the Rangers a 5-3 victory.
Kings coach Todd McLellan said the inconsistent performance was characteristic of his team’s season.
“Our game tonight has matched our year, where we’re inconsistent, we’re up and down,” McLellan said. “Whether it’s within a game, whether it’s two-game segments, one-game segments, back-to-backs, we’re still searching for that.”
“Yeah, disappointed,” said forward Kevin Fiala, who scored his seventh goal 35 seconds into the contest and added two assists. “Going into the lead like that, 2-0 in the first, got to find a way to keep going, you know? There’s no reason to step off the gas.”
So what happened?
“I think we just stopped playing,” Fiala said. “In the first period we had a lot of shots on net. We didn’t give them anything defensively. … It’s just another game. Got to learn from it and get better the next game.”
The next game is against old rival San Jose, coming off an even bigger clunker, an 8-5 loss at Seattle on Wednesday.
The eight goals were a franchise single-game record for the Kraken who scored twice in a 59-second span in the third to take a 6-4 lead. Timo Meier answered with his third goal of the game, his first hat trick of the season and fourth of his career, but Seattle put the game away with goals by Matty Beniers and Jaden Schwartz to cap a four-goal third.
“Obviously disappointing,” said Meier, who leads the Sharks with 12 goals. “We come back (and) I think we just gave up too much. Turned too many pucks over.
“We had some parts of the game where we played well but it was just not consistent enough for 60 minutes. I think that was a winnable game but we just shot ourselves in the foot.”
San Jose coach David Quinn questioned his team’s mental makeup after the loss.
“Just the turnovers, the sloppiness, and our lack of pride in puck possession really cost us tonight,” Quinn said. “Listen, they are a fast team. I give them a lot of credit. They play at a pace. They looked probably a little faster than they really are because I thought we played slow. Not only physically but mentally.
“To do the things we did tonight was really a reflection of us mentally.”
It was the second time in the last four games that San Jose allowed at least seven goals. The Sharks were handed a 7-4 home loss to Detroit on Nov. 17.
Erik Karlsson had an assist in Wednesday’s loss to give him 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) and making him just the 11th defenseman since the 1980-81 season to accomplish that feat after 22 games.
Karlsson is tied for fourth with Boston’s David Pastrnak in the NHL in scoring behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid (35), Jason Robertson of Dallas (31) and Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl (31).
–Field Level Media