Kings falter again on home ice, losing 3-1 to the Blues
The Kings continued their downward spiral on Thursday, losing 3-1 to the St. Louis Blues, who had lost at Anaheim on Wednesday and were winless in five games.
Winless, that is, until the Kings gave them free passage through all three zones.
The Kings are 1-6 on a homestand they hoped would be a turning point for their season. It certainly has been: it’s turning them into an also-ran in the tight Western Conference and has extended their latest futility to seven losses in eight games.
Second-period goals by Ryan Reaves and Alex Steen proved too much for the Kings (23-19-1), who had lost to the Blues at St. Louis on Dec. 16. Goaltender Jonathan Quick has lost five of his last six decisions.
Coach Terry Murray’s continued remixing of the lines did little, and the question becomes how much of this is his fault and how much can be attributed to the material he has to work with.
The Blues scored first, at 11:38 of the first period. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo made a fake at the blue line to get an outside shooting lane and moved toward the boards before shooting. The puck glanced off B.J. Crombeen before eluding a screened Quick.
The Kings tied the score at 5:37 of the second period, three seconds after the expiration of their first power play. Defenseman Alec Martinez’s first shot from the blue line was blocked, but the puck came back to him with no defender to poke it away. He moved to get a better angle and took a hard wrist shot that deflected off Blues defenseman Erik Johnson and off teammate Michal Handzus before getting past Jaroslav Halak.
The Blues, though depleted by injuries, regained the lead at 14:16 of the second period. Jack Johnson leveled Pietrangelo with a hip check along the boards that had the fans cheering, but the Blues kept the puck in the Kings’ zone. It came back out to Chris Porter, who threw it toward the front of the net. The puck bounced off Philip McRae — son of former NHL player Basil McRae — and off Quick, who couldn’t control the rebound. Reaves, who scored his first NHL goal on Wednesday, doubled his total by converting the rebound.
The Blues scored with 64 seconds left in the period, thanks to some good work along the boards by Brad Boyes. He fought off Drew Doughty to get the puck to Steen, who scored from the inner edge of the circle and triggered a chorus of boos from the 17,932 fans who have grown tired of watching the Kings lose at home.
Photo: Kings left wing Kyle Clifford brings the puck around the goal against Blues defenseman Barret Jackman and goalie Jaroslva Halak on Thursday night at the Staples Center. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire