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Kings hold closed-door meeting after fourth straight loss

'We haven't done enough working or competing,' Doughty says

by Dan Greenspan / Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings held a closed-door meeting that lasted almost 20 minutes after losing their fourth straight game Saturday.

With a 5-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres at Staples Center, the Kings have been outscored 21-5 during the losing streak, including 12-3 in a two-game homestand that started with a 7-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday. 

"We talked about some stuff and what we got to do going forward here to right the ship," Los Angeles defenseman Jake Muzzin said. "That's all I am going to say about that."

Coach John Stevens criticized the Kings on Thursday for a lack of effort after they allowed a shorthanded goal to the Islanders on a two-man breakaway 46 seconds after Jeff Carter scored on a 5-on-3 power play to get within 3-2.

Stevens said he expected the Kings to respond but was stunned by their play against the Sabres, who had not won in Los Angeles since Oct. 23, 2003. Buffalo led 4-0 in the second period.

"I'll be honest, I don't have an answer at this second," Stevens said. "I thought after the way we played the other night we would come and rip the doors off the hinges tonight. We have great fans here, and guys love playing at home because of the support we get at home here, so I don't have an answer right now."

Stevens said the Kings (2-5-1) are lacking the willingness to fight back when plays go against them. Defenseman Drew Doughty, who scored the goal Saturday, agreed.

"When things have been going wrong, a bad bounce here or there, things have been going south," Doughty said. "You can't talk and say things have been lucky for the other team as much as maybe they have been. You got to work to get the luck back on your side, and we haven't done enough working and competing."

Video: Skinner records hat trick as Sabres top Kings, 5-1

Los Angeles went 11-2-2 to start last season, its first with Stevens as coach. It finished 45-29-8 and was swept by the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference First Round.

Forward Ilya Kovalchuk, who is 35 years old and played the prior five seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League, was the Kings' only significant offseason addition.

Muzzin, who, like Doughty, is among 11 Kings who have won the Stanley Cup with Los Angeles (2012, 2014), said this team isn't striving for the excellence necessary to win a championship.

"We've accepted being OK," Muzzin said. "It's not OK. It's not working. It's going to be a long year, guys will be moved if this continues. It's not what we want, so we've got to take a look in the mirror."

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