In one of the biggest games of the LA Kings‘ season to date, they faltered badly and lost a game that was winnable, 4-3 in Dallas against the Stars, who are currently a threat to the team if they fall back into the wild card race.

It all looked great at the beginning. The Kings came out with a ton of energy after getting smoked by the Bruins in DTLA a couple of nights ago. Tons of high-quality scoring chances going around, which eventually led to Phillip Danault and the MAD line getting on the board and opening the scoring.

In the second period, the pairing of Mikey Anderson and Drew Doughty found themselves in trouble again, getting exposed by the Stars’ third line, leading to a Luke Glendening goal.

Arthur Kaliyev got a defensive zone steal, skated all the way up, and sniped it to put the Kings up 2-1, and just minutes after blasted one in for his second of the night on the power play, giving the team a two-goal lead.

It all went downhill from there, however, as the Kings allowed three goals in the span of six minutes, including two goals in the final minute.

“I think the second period is what killed us in this game,” Kings’ forward Arthur Kaliyev told the media in the post-game. “Penalties killed us a lot also.”

Kaliyev was correct in both assessments, as the Kings gave up five power plays to the Stars.

“With the penalties, we didn’t get enough guys in the game, so there is guys sitting,” said LA Kings acting head coach Trent Yawney. “It was the second period where a lot of momentum came off of, both the power play and turnovers.”

“We lost a 60-minute game in 20 minutes.”

Three takeaways from Wednesday’s loss:

1. Arty-Party shows up in Texas

Arthur Kaliyev continues to prove his doubters around the league wrong and especially did last night.

Kaliyev finished the night with his first career multi-goal game and was extremely close to the hat-trick late in the third period after hitting the post on a one-timer opportunity.

“It feels good. It brings a lot of confidence for me […]. Hopefully, that brings my confidence over to the next game,” Kaliyev said on how it felt to register his first multi-goal game in the NHL.

“I’ve seen lots of progression in Arty’s game […]. I think those two shots were a pretty good illustration of what his gifts are, and then he had the third one at the end of the game where their goalie made a really, really good save,” Yawney said on Kaliyev’s performance.

Kaliyev’s biggest criticism from scouts has always been his two-way game, but it didn’t look like that was something to worry about last night…

2. Petersen stands strong in rough defensive effort

After last night’s game, I noticed some Kings fans on social media pinning the blame on Cal Petersen, and I’ve got to say, I don’t agree.

Petersen saved 34 of 38 shots, good for a -0.03 goals saved above expected (GSAx) and a .905 save percentage. While those aren’t glamorous stats, they aren’t bad considering the amount of goals the Stars scored.

Realistically, I could only find one goal I’d blame on Petersen, and that was the Ryan Suter goal from the point. I’d blame the other three on the Anderson/Doughty pairing, which has just simply been abysmal the past two games.

The LA Kings’ fanbase seems to be insistent on pinning the blame on their goaltenders, and while sometimes it is warranted, last night was not one of those nights.

3. Playoff race pothole for the Kings

Last night’s loss was heartbreaking if you’re a Kings fan for one reason: the playoff race.

After the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Vegas Golden Knights, Anaheim Ducks, and Winnipeg Jets all found ways to get two points on Tuesday, the Kings failed to even get one against the Dallas Stars, a team that they’ve been battling with for playoff ground for the last few weeks.

Now the Kings still remain second in the Pacific Division, but their point percentage of .591 would have them behind the Golden Knights at third in the division. The Oilers also now trail by just two points with one game in hand on the Kings, and the Stars are behind the Kings by just two points with two games in hand as well in case they fall back into wild card territory.

With just 27 games remaining in the season, every point you can get matters, and the LA Kings need to start again soon.

Los Angeles is back in action in Columbus on Friday.