Game 43; 27-13-3
LOS ANGELES — They were solid through 40 minutes, but in the third, fell apart allowing four goals en route to a 5-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators.
Fresh off finalizing Anze Kopitar‘s new contract, the Los Angeles Kings entered Saturday with an air of confidence knowing that the cornerstone was officially remaining with the club. They followed that up with two dominant periods.
First, Jeff Carter scored at 18:37 of the first to open the scoring and, then at 7:48 of the second, Vinny Lecavalier netting his first as a King — and of the season — to put Los Angeles up by a pair.
Carter’s goal came on a delayed penalty as Tyler Toffoli made a great effort not only to force said penalty but to keep the puck in play, passing to the point and ultimately repositioning himself to set up No. 77 for the tally. The goal was a milestone for Carter as he scored his 100th as a member of the Kings. Jake Muzzin had the second assist, increasing his point streak to six games in the process.
On Lecavalier’s goal, Carter was at it again setting the veteran up for the goal with Christian Ehrhoff picking up the second assist.
Alex Chiasson put the Sens on the board in the second but overall, it was all Kings as they controlled the momentum in all three zones, outplaying the Senators every way imaginable.
In the third, Milan Lucic made a wonderful no-look pass from the corner to Tyler Toffoli who cashed in on his team-leading 21st — and 10th in 14 games, to regain Los Angeles’s two-goal lead. Anze Kopitar was able to get an assist on the goal, adding to his special day. The tally made up for Toffoli’s penalty-shot miss in the second. But after that, the Sens started to wake up, and the Kings helped with some costly mistakes.
At the 8:08 mark of the third, Ottawa took advantage of a rare defensive breakdown by the home side as Mika Zibanejad lured Jonathan Quick over before feeding Bobby Ryan who tapped his 14th home. Then, just 26 seconds later, Jake Muzzin made a defensive blunder, passing it out of his own zone only to bounce off the stick blade of Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau and past a surprised Quick. Just like that, this one was tied.
Then, after Nick Shore was penalized for a high-sticking double-minor, Zibanejad gave the Sens their first lead of the night before Mark Borowiecki iced the game with an empty-netter. Just like that, the Kings had lost their second game to the Sens this season — another 5-3 count.
Despite the loss, the Kings keep their eight-point lead in the Pacific thanks to Arizona’s 2-0 loss to New Jersey on Saturday.
For the Sens, the win gives them three-in-a-row while the Kings lose in their first game back after a five-day layoff. But there is no time to dwell as the silver-and-black are right back to work on Sunday as they travel up the road for a date with the Anaheim Ducks in the first meeting of the season between the SoCal rivals.