LA Kings Jonathan Quick

As the season winds down, every point matters, and while the LA Kings managed to get one, they couldn’t get the second, as they fell to the Chicago Blackhawks in a shootout, 4-3. The team’s record now sits at 35-22-8, and they have a three-point advantage on the Edmonton Oilers, with one more game played.

The Kings started the game purely dominating Chicago, outshooting them by a hefty margin and basically shutting them down defensively, but that changed rather quickly.

Erik Gustafsson slapped one from the point, missed the net, and the puck bounced right to Patrick Kane, who buried it to put the Blackhawks up. Completely deflating for the Kings, who had controlled the game up to that point.

In the second period, Sean Durzi sprung Trevor Moore for a breakaway while short-handed, and Moore scored to tie the game at one.

After that, Alex DeBrincat scored off of a feed from Dylan Strome behind the net. Durzi was the liability on that play, not putting pressure on Strome behind the net and also screening his own goaltender on the play.

Later on the power play, Anze Kopitar fired one on net, and while he didn’t score, Phillip Danault put away the rebound to hit the 20 goal plateau for the first time of his career.

However, the tie was short-lived as a complete defensive breakdown allowed Taylor Raddysh to find Sam Lafferty all alone in front of the net to score on a helpless Jonathan Quick.

In the third period, Danault scored again, also while in front of the net (he tends to do that a lot) and tied the game, which went to overtime and eventually the shootout, where the Kings failed to score and lost in the third round.

“First time in a long time, even with all of the defensemen out, that it looked disjointed between forward and [defensemen]. Whether it was passing and execution coming out of our end, defending in our zone, there wasn’t a lot of communication,” LA Kings head coach Todd McLellan told media.

Three takeaways

1. Quick puts on a clinic

I’m not sure I can really put the blame for any of the three goals on Quick. The first one was on Jacob Moverare, the second on Durzi, and the third on Danault.

Danault himself even made it clear in the post-game that he was taking accountability for that third goal.

Quick made countless highlight-reel saves and finished the game with 28 saves, a .903 save percentage and a 0.57 GSAx. While the save percentage doesn’t look glamorous, he was much better than it reflects.

Blackhawks goaltender Collin Delia, who was born and raised in Southern California and grew up watching Quick, said, “some of the saves he made were pretty incredible” in the post-game.

2. Danault’s multi-goal performance

As mentioned earlier, Danault potted two goals in last night’s loss and hit the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his NHL career. Didn’t fans from Montreal say he can’t score?

“I have some great linemates, it’s working well, and [they’re] giving me the opportunities to score. I get to the net and get my nose dirty, if I get to the front of the net, they just feed me. I try to be around there all the time,” Danault said.

I can say, Danault is around the net ALL the time, and as he said, it’s been working out. He is at his best when he’s floating around the crease and annoying the goaltender.

3. Iafallo continues slumping

Alex Iafallo‘s goal-scoring slump has gone from bad to horrendous, as he has yet to score a goal since January 30th and has just four goals since December 29th.

He came close while on a 2-on-1 last night but got robbed on the glove side by Delia and then didn’t really do anything again.

We all know that Iafallo brings an elite defensive skillset, but it’s frustrating to watch somebody who is deployed as a first liner not be able to produce for such a long period. He has really seemed like a black hole offensively up to this point.

The LA Kings are back in action against the Seattle Kraken on Saturday. Have to win these games against teams not occupying a playoff spot. Plain and simple.

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