Kings defenseman Slava Voynov delivers a hard check to Oilers winger Ryan… (John Ulan / Associated Press )
Reporting from Edmonton, Canada — Kings' historians will remember the pitfalls and pratfalls on some of these long, cold journeys through Alberta, getting body slammed by the one-two punch of the Flames and Oilers.
Previously, even coming away with a split would have been cause for celebration. So why then did leaving Alberta with three out of a possible four points this weekend carry the slight feel of disappointment?
The faces and body language of the Kings showed just that shortly after the Oilers defeated them, 2-1, in overtime at Rexall Place on Sunday night. Taylor Hall got the game-winner, on the power play, just 21 seconds after the Kings' Justin Williams went off for high-sticking Theo Peckham.
Hall may have got the goal but the highlight moment came from teammate Shawn Horcoff, who set it up with a sensational no-look backhand pass down low.
These are the games coaches fear. The Oilers had been on a five-game losing streak, and Kings Coach Darryl Sutter had been talking for the last couple of days about the difficult back-to-back and condensed time frame, a later start in Calgary followed by an earlier game, which started at 6 p.m. in Edmonton.
"We got a point — it's a big point — but we just didn't play very well in the first two periods," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "It probably cost us. It definitely cost us a point. It was just one of those games. We've got to be better.
"….We just can't accept the way we played in the first two periods."
Sutter came back to the swift turnaround.
"That's a good explanation," he said. "We got three out of four points. That's for you guys to be negative about, not me. They had opportunities. I didn't see the last time we played Edmonton but our team has had problems scoring against Edmonton."
The Kings are 7-1-5 under Sutter and had actually been on a scoring binge of late, with 13 goals in their last three games. Sunday was a return to the offensively challenged days.
Someone asked Sutter about the previous meeting between the teams, in which the Oilers won, 3-0, in Los Angeles.
"I didn't have tickets for that game," Sutter said.
That makes it one goal in two games against the struggling Oilers. The lone Kings goal came from Williams on a tip off a Slava Voynov slap shot, tying it 1-1, at 6:22 of the third period. Assisting on the goal was Anze Kopitar, who picked up his 400th career NHL point.
It sounds like a broken record, but the Kings would not have had the chance to stay in it, if not for the continued excellence of their All-Star goalie Jonathan Quick, who faced 33 shots.
"He was fantastic — all night," said Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi. "Gave up two goals. I know one was [technically] even strength but it was pretty much two power-play goals and he played fantastic for us and gave us a chance."
The disappointment in the room came from the feeling of leaving a point on the table. As Scuderi said, the goals should be a little more advanced for the Kings, say, like securing home-ice advantage for the playoffs, as a jumping off point.
"We've got to face facts," he said. "Everything they got was off our mistakes, which were plentiful to say the least in the first and second periods."