April 2, 2017
The Kings were officially eliminated from postseason contention on Sunday night with a 2-1 loss to Arizona at Staples Center.
The loss was very symbolic of the Kings’ season. They needed a win to keep their season alive against a very bad team, the team with the 2nd worst record in the West, and they came up short.
The Coyotes got on the board late in the 1st period, when Alexander Burmistrov tapped home his own rebound past Jonathan Quick. The goal came on the power play with just 15 seconds left in the period.
Arizona would strike again at the 3:09 mark of the 2nd when Anthony Duclair took advantage of sloppy Kings’ puck handling. Duclair scored on his own rebound, and the Coyotes had a 2-0 lead.
The Kings would score a fluke goal in the 3rd period when Alec Martinez tried to shoot the puck along the boards into the Coyotes zone from center ice. The puck bounced off Coyotes defenseman Jordan Martinook, and back toward the Arizona goal, which was vacated by goaltender Mike Smith. Smith thought the puck was going to end up behind the net before it was re-directed towards the goal, but the puck ended up going into the open net.
That’s as close as the Kings would get. They had three power play opportunities after that, but were unable to tie the game. After the game Anze Kopitar reflect on the missed opportunities.
“We just had too many stretches of playing not remotely good enough, and the losses kept piling on,” Kopitar said. “I think coming back after the break, we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be.”
Jonathan Quick said the problem was more than just lack of offense. “I don’t think it’s all on the goal scoring. This time of year you’ve got to know how to keep the puck out of your net just as much as you need to know how to put it in. It’s on everybody.”
With much younger and faster teams in the division, the Kings will have to consider much more significant changes this offseason. LA has missed the playoffs in two of the last three seasons, and has just one playoff win in that stretch. Many of their quality players from their Stanley Cups victories in 2012 and 2014 are no longer on the roster.
“These guys know,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “Edmonton, Calgary and San Jose all took a major step in terms of what their teams were. Keep up. You’ve got to keep up. There’s no question about it.”
The Kings have four games left in their season, beginning with Tuesday night against Edmonton at Staples Center.