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Kings after two periods: Minnesota 2, Kings 1

March 29, 2010 |  8:04 pm

This is getting ugly.

The Kings gave up a power-play goal and a four-on-four goal in the second period and were lucky to get one back at full strength after a 50-foot slap shot by Scott Parse deflected off Minnesota's Casey Wellman.

Nothing is clicking offensively for the Kings. They're outshooting Minnesota, 18-13, but that doesn't really tell the story. They had a five-on-three advantage for 52 seconds in the middle period but couldn't score. They're not putting any pressure on goaltender Niklas Backstrom, partly because they can't establish a presence in front of the net and partly because of an outright lack of tenacity.

They set a high standard earlier this season, and we all knew they probably wouldn't maintain that all season. But this utterly lifeless performance tonight is simply inexcusable.

It has nothing to do with Jonathan Quick probably playing too much. He wasn't to blame on either Minnesota goal tonight. It has everything to do with the pressure overcoming the players, not the players overcoming the pressure, and it's threatening to spoil the many gains the Kings have made this season.

More later at www.latimes.com/sports

Helene Elliott, reporting St. Paul, Minn.

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