The LA Kings have scored first in four of their five games to start the 2021-22 season, but they have just one win and three points in the standings to show for it. Alex Iafallo got the Kings on the board 11:39 into the opening period on Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues.
The Eden, New York, native collected a rebound off defenseman Alex Edler’s shot to light the lamp for the first time this season. However, the Blues would go on to score six unanswered goals, including three in a disaster of a second period.
“I guess we just let up,” Iafallo admitted after the Kings’ 7-3 loss. “We talked about having a good start and jumping on them, but we have to stay on them, in the offensive zone, keep going forward. We need all three periods next game and we need to be ready to go.”
Iafallo was named an alternate captain prior to Saturday’s game in place of the injured Drew Doughty. And the latter’s absence was apparent, especially on special teams, where the Kings gave up four goals on seven penalty kill situations.
The penalty kill was an area of strength for this team last year, finishing in the Top 10 in that department. However, through the first five games this season, the Kings have the second-worst penalty kill at 53.3 percent. Conversely, they haven’t been very good on the man advantage, either. So far this season, the Kings have converted just once on 12 powerplay opportunities, dating back to Tuesday’s game against Nashville.
“It was kind of everything, it’s definitely not a game that we want to play, we’re embarrassed right now,” Iafallo said. “Obviously each period, we’ve got to come together, whether it’s the power play, penalty kill, everything hurts tonight. We’ve got to bounce back and come together.”
As for what’s next, the Kings are off on Sunday, but they’ll need to regroup and collect themselves for another shot at the Blues on Monday.
They’ve largely been a one-line team in the early goings of this season, led by Anze Kopitar’s strong start. It’ll be interesting to see if head coach Todd McLellan throws the line combinations into the blender, with an outside potential of introducing new blood from Ontario. Either way, the Kings need to find a way to turn around their poor start to the season while adjusting to life without Doughty, for the time being.
“Take a good look at ourselves tonight, take a look in the mirror, and remember our mistakes,” Iafallo said of what the Kings need to do. “At the same time, we’ve got to come together, talk more, take care of our chances, eliminate their chances.”
The Kings and Blues will meet again Monday, with puck drop set for 6 pm PT.