It was a much better performance this afternoon from the LA Kings, but the group came up just short in a 4-3 defeat against the Vegas Golden Knights, giving Vegas a two-game sweep of the Kings this weekend at T-Mobile Arena.
The Kings held leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in a wild, high-scoring first period, but Vegas’ ability to create odd-man situations, and score off the rush, was ultimately the deciding factor once again. The Golden Knights quickly erased both Los Angeles leads and scored a power-play goal that deflected off a Kings stick early in the third period, taking a 4-3 lead that they would not relinquish.
The Kings had several opportunities down the stretch to tie the game, but also got some key saves from Cal Petersen in net to keep it a one-goal Vegas lead. It felt like the puck was sitting in, or just outside of, the Vegas crease on numerous occasions in the final 20 minutes, but there was no bounce, and ultimately no goal, to be had for the visitors.
Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored his first career NHL goal, as a part of an active night from the fourth line, but it was not enough to help the Kings get a split, or even a point, in Vegas.
Hear from Anderson-Dolan and Todd McLellan below.
On creating more, high-danger offensive chances tonight
I thought we did a much better job than we did in games prior. If you go back to the game in Los Angeles, when we played against Anaheim, we were non-existent in that area. Today, against a good team and a good goaltender, I thought we created a lot of good looks. I thought we kept plays alive in the offensive zone, if we had a little more polish we would’ve had one more, thinking about that power play, the one-timer across the Kempe, had a great opportunity there. Offensively, I thought we improved as a team today.
On Jaret Anderson-Dolan’s play, and getting his first career NHL goal
It’s happened over the last few games, with Arty getting his and Jaret getting his tonight. The bench was very excited for him, it uplifted all of us. He’s worked really hard, he’s bided his time, he’s deserved all the ice time he’s gotten over the last couple of games. He’s done a good job penalty killing, played well 5-on-5 and was rewarded with the goal. We’re happy with what he’s providing.
On if he felt the team made the defensive adjustments he was hopeful of
The [odd-man rush chances] are still a concern, but we gave up way fewer of them. If you look at the goals, we turned the puck over in the neutral zone on the first one, and they came right back at us. The second one, I think we could’ve handled so much better, and we’re very capable of doing it in our zone. The third one was the one that was very poorly played, but it was by a couple of relatively inexperienced players. [The Golden Knights] make you pay for mistakes, it was a result that probably broke our back more than anything.
On if today’s power-play struggles were more a result of the Kings, or Vegas’ PK
A combination of both. We were sloppy at times, but there’s other times we had some really good looks at the net and we didn’t finish it. I’m not overly concerned about it, I think it’s in a good spot right now. There’s going to be nights where we’re going to execute well, there’s going to be nights where the opponent we play does a good job to stop it. Sometimes, the goalie’s going to get in the way and some nights we’ll get a lucky one where it sneaks in. I’m more concerned about our 5-on-5 play.
– Kings forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored his first career NHL goal with a second-period tally. Anderson-Dolan became the second Kings player in the last three games to score his first goal in the NHL (Arthur Kaliyev).
– With his goal in the first period, forward Adrian Kempe tied Dustin Brown for the team lead with four goals this season.
– Anze Kopitar’s goal, 36 seconds into the game, was the fourth-fastest goal of his NHL career. Kopitar has also scored 27 seconds into a game (x2) and 33 seconds in.
– With his goal, Kopitar’s second of the season, he is now tied with Nathan MacKinnon and Mark Stone for the lead in points in the West Division, with 14 (2-12-14) from 12 games played.
– The Kings scored the first goal for the second time this season in today’s game. Kopitar’s goal, 36 seconds in, marks 11 different Kings first-goal scorers this season, a different one in every game to date.
The Kings are back in action against San Jose on Tuesday, at home at STAPLES Center, with puck drop set for 7 PM.