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The Key Three: Dec. 6

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
The three key aspects of the Kings’ 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night...

1. Two is the loneliest number
It’s lowest-common-denominator stuff, but the statistics don’t lie: when the Kings score three goals, they win. When they score two or fewer, they usually lose. Last night’s game was the sixth consecutive game in which the Kings scored two or fewer goals, and they’re 2-3-1 in that stretch. Reaching the three-goal mark would have been enough to earn the Kings a win in three of those losses, and at least one point in their other loss. Of course, not every team in the NHL is going to score three goals in every game, but the Kings have done it only eight times in 27 games, and they now rank last in the NHL in goals per game (2.26).

2. Too little, too late
The Kings looked like world-beaters in the third period, when they outshot the Ducks 23-8, rallied for a game-tying goal and applied consistent pressure throughout the 20 minutes. Where was this in the first 40 minutes? The Kings’ first period was decent, as they played with structure and got beat only on an unlucky goal, but was there a memorable scoring chance in the period? The second period was mostly in the Ducks’ favor, even though the Kings did manage a momentum-turning goal late in the period. The Kings played with intensity and emotion in the third period, two qualities that, too often, seem to be lacking of late.

3. Bad bounces
The Ducks’ first goal came off an unfortunate misplay by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. The Ducks’ game-winning goal pinballed into the Kings’ net after it came off the stick of Bobby Ryan. Bad bounces? Yes, but the cliche that teams ``earn their luck’’ also comes into play. Quick should have handled the puck better, and Terry Murray was apparently unhappy with his team’s coverage on the faceoff that led to Ryan’s late goal. The Kings certainly hit the unintentional daily double, in terms of unfortunate bounces, but credit must also be given the Ducks for being in the right position on both plays, and converting their chances.
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