Ceding late-period goals was the Kings’ downfall in the club’s 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Monday night at Rogers Arena.
Twice the Canucks struck in the final seconds of a period, once tying the game with 13 seconds left in the first, and netting the eventual winner with 33 ticks to play in the second.
That’ll do something for momentum’s sake.
“I think tonight, we have a good start, we get one, and then doing just enough to let them hang around, and they get a couple opportunities and they score,” said Anze Kopitar. “And then the next thing you know we’re behind and we’re chasing the lead, we all know that’s not the way to go.”
The Kings have now dropped six of their last eight games and failed to capitalize on a chance to reclaim first-place in the Pacific division. With only three games left on the regular season slate, time is running out for the team to put together a solid foundation to enter the playoffs with.
“Obviously you want to win as much as you can, but you’ve got to know that your game is where it needs to be going into the playoffs,” Kopitar said. “Right now we’re just short of that, but we still have three games remaining here to sharpen up and put it in place in an order we want it to be.”
Tyler Toffoli gave the Kings a 1-0 lead six minutes into the game when he slammed home a juicy rebound that stemmed from a sharp angle Jeff Carter shot that Ryan Miller couldn’t handle.
For Toffoli, it was his 30th goal of the season; Toffoli is the Kings’ first 30-goal scorer since Anze Kopitar totaled 34 during the 2009-’10 campaign.
Emerson Etem tied the game 1-1 with 13 seconds left in the opening frame.
The Kings took a 2-1 lead midway through the second when Andy Andreoff spotted Kyle Clifford a perfectly-time pass as Clifford fled toward Vancouver’s net, tipping home Andreoff’s feed past Ryan Miller.
Jannik Hansen tied the game 2-2 while the Canucks worked on a 5-on-3 power play with 4:38 left in the middle frame.
Jared McCann buried a breakaway opportunity with 33 seconds left in the second when he recovered a Dustin Brown turnover in the Kings’ zone and walked in alone on Jonathan Quick. McCann’s goal would prove to be the game-winner.
The Kings outshot the Canucks 20-6 in the third, but couldn’t get a puck past Ryan Miller.
The Kings finished their season series against Vancouver with a 3-2-0 record.
Five different players led the Kings in points scored (1), Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter in shots taken (6), Kyle Clifford and Luke Schenn in hits delivered (4), Jake Muzzin, Rob Scuderi, and Luke Schenn in shots blocked (2), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (24:18). Jonathan Quick made 21 saves in the loss.
The Kings will complete their two-game road trip, playing their final road game of the 2015-’16 regular season when they pay a visit to the Calgary Flames Tuesday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 6:00PM PST.