BUFFALO – The Kings’ struggles in Western New York continued Tuesday night, as they failed to score in a 1-0 shutout loss to the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center.
In kicking off their five-game road trip, the Kings did so in a building that hasn’t been too kind to them over the past decade-plus. Coming into the night, the Kings were 1-11-1 in their previous 13 visits to Buffalo, their only win coming in February of 2003.
The Sabres, who had a miserable start to their season, came into the night on the rebound, having won six of their previous nine games.
Buffalo took a very conservative approach from start to finish, which didn’t play into the Kings’ favor. The Kings were never able to dictate the pace or control the game despite outshooting the Sabres by more than a 2-to-1 margin, 34-16.
The Kings attempted 70 shots on the evening, but Buffalo’s defense maintained poise and position throughout the night, blocking 25 of the Kings’ shots. Buffalo’s Jhonas Enroth, who earned his first shutout of the season, and his first ever against the Kings, kept secondary chances in check with solid positioning and control of his rebounds.
“I thought we got some good looks, [Enroth] made some big saves, but we’ve just got to score those goals,” Drew Doughty said following the shutout loss. “We’ve got to score goals, we’re not scoring enough. We’re playing well defensively, we’re not giving up a lot, but the bottom line is, we need to put pucks in the net.”
The Kings, with two power play opportunities on the night, failed to get any positive results, and are now on a cold 2-for-21 stretch on the man advantage.
Buffalo, on the other hand, buried the night’s game-winning goal with their power play unit when Tyler Ennis beat Jonathan Quick with a shot low to the blocker side after he was left alone in front of the Kings’ net.
As the Kings were fighting to clear the puck out of their zone, they were caught with three players behind Jonathan Quick’s net, which freed up time and space for Ennis. Matt Moulson, who saw Ennis free in the Kings’ crease, fed him a pass that he fired past Quick to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead with 16 minutes to play in regulation.
Coming into the night, the Sabres’ power play was 5-for-76 on the season, but it was the difference in tonight’s game.
“We lost on special teams,” said Regehr, who was in the box at the time of Buffalo’s goal. “I took a penalty in the third period. We weren’t able to kill it off. For some reason, we’re struggling to score goals in [Buffalo]. Last year, I think we only scored one and this year we didn’t score any. So we’ve got to find a way to put the puck in the net.”
Marian Gaborik, in his first game back after missing four games due to an undisclosed injury, registered three shots in 15:53 minutes of ice time, including 1:57 of time on the power play.
Dwight King led all Kings players in shots taken (4), Dustin Brown in hits delivered (6), Drew Doughty in shots blocked (3), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (29:53). Jonathan Quick made 15 saves in the loss.
With the loss, the Kings’ record dips to 14-9-5, and their record away from STAPLES Center drops to 3-5-4. The Kings will play the second game of their five-game road trip Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Center. The puck is slated to drop at 4:30PM PT.
‘REPORTING FROM EL SEGUNDO, CA