The Los Angeles Kings continue to slide in the wrong direction. Reversing course won’t get any easier when they host the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.
The Kings have been shut out in their past two games, prompting harsh words from first-year coach Todd McLellan following a 3-0 loss on Thursday night to the visiting Buffalo Sabres, who were playing their second game in two nights.
He was particularly unhappy with the two early goals by the Sabres, both scored against the trio of Ilya Kovalchuk, Michael Amadio and Austin Wagner.
“My concern is our approach to the game early (Thursday) night,” McLellan told reporters. “The same line, two shifts in a row, made the same mistake. Like, you think you’d learn the first time. So, that’s a concern of ours.”
Before the current two-game scoring skid, the Kings were plagued on the defensive end, giving up 17 goals in their first three games.
Even in their two wins this season, Los Angeles let three-goal leads slip away, including a 4-3 overtime win in Calgary on Oct. 8.
McLellan has already had to bench goalie Jonathan Quick, who gave up 19 goals on 92 shots in his first three games for a .793 save percentage.
His backup, Jack Campbell, has a .897 save percentage, which would’ve ranked 45th in the NHL last season.
Whoever starts in goal for Los Angeles on Saturday night, he’ll be up against an offense that’s receiving production from a variety of sources.
The Flames are getting their usual contributions from Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm and Sean Monahan, but they’ve been bolstered by others. Each member of the Flames’ third line — Sam Bennett, Andrew Mangiapane and Derek Ryan — scored a goal in a 5-1 win against the visiting Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.
Milan Lucic, acquired by Calgary from the Edmonton Oilers in the offseason to bolster its offense, told reporters after scoring his first point with the Flames on Thursday that having a variety of scoring options is directly related to a team’s success.
“You look at the teams that finish atop the standings every year, it’s contributions throughout,” he said. “You look at the Stanley Cup winner at the end of the year, it’s not just two or three guys, or two lines carrying the load. It’s different guys stepping up at different times. So, you need that contribution throughout the lineup if you want to have success.”
The Flames had a couple of scares during their win against Detroit.
Lindholm left after he was slashed by Darren Helm in the third period, resulting in $5,000 fine imposed on Helm by the NHL. Lindholm seems likely to play against the Kings, but Mangiapane also departed after a hard collision against the boards late in the second period, leaving his status more uncertain.
Updates were not available by Friday afternoon.
In hopes of finding some offense, the Kings recalled forward Nikolai Prokhorkin from Ontario of the American Hockey League on Friday, and reassigned forward Carl Grundstrom and defenseman Tobias Bjornfot.
McLellan had some other ideas about how to generate goals.
“We’ve got to get hungrier in and around the paint,” he said. “The secondary chances we get have to get up. Everything’s on the ice and we don’t get anything up and over.”
–Field Level Media