How the Los Angeles Kings fell into a 0-2 hole against Vegas

LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 13: Erik Haula (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 13: Erik Haula (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Kings are in a rough position in the first-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs; down two games to none to the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

There is only one reason the Los Angeles Kings find themselves down 0-2 against the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

Sometimes there is three, sometimes even more. Nope, just one underlying, frustrating, reason.

They can’t put the (Explicit) puck in the (Explicit) net. The Kings have been outshot 84-60 and have not looked remotely like they did when they beat the Golden Knights on back to back nights back in February.

In 154 minutes of hockey King’s goaltender Jonathan Quick has given up just 3 goals over the first two games. Quick set a team playoff record with 54 saves in the Kings overtime loss in game two.

Despite all that he has done Quick has been left with two hard-luck losses because the guys who play in front of him have forgotten one of the central tenets of hockey: score goals.

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You could argue the Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been equally good or better than Quick by the reality of it is the top Kings forwards have not done enough to drive the offense.

For all the consternation of east coast bias when it comes to lack of MVP talk for Kings center Anze Kopitar. He isn’t helping his cause by looking lost out on the ice.

During the regular season, Kopitar averaged almost five shots a game. In his two games in the series, Kopitar only has 5 shots total. That is a testament to the Golden Knights defense but Kopitar also needs to find a way to regain his scoring touch.

Over his last 25 playoff games, Kopitar only has three goals, while it doesn’t mean he hasn’t been part of the offense Kopitar needs to score if the Kings mean to survive this series.

Perhaps one of the reasons the Golden Knights have been able to succeed against Kopitar is because they don’t need to worry about the other forwards.

Take for example winger Tyler Toffoli. Since game seven of the 2014 Western Conference Finals, going back 12 games Toffoli has laid a big fat goose egg with zero goals.

Toffoli was re-signed last summer when he became a free agent. It was a move for the front office to retain some youth and scoring for a team that lacked both. Toffoli rewarded the team with a wildly inconsistent season, at one point when the calendar switched to 2018 Toffoli went 22 games and scored two goals.

Now in the playoffs again Toffoli is being held in check despite leading the team in shots, he still can’t find the back of the net.

When the Kings went into game two desperate for a win especially without the suspended Drew Doughty, they had a chance steal momentum from the upstart Golden Knights. Now they find themselves down 0-2, and a non-existent offense.

Next: The perspective of a Kings fan at a Ducks playoff game

If the Kings want to move on players like Kopitar and Toffoli are going to have to step it up or it will be another long summer of questions for the Kings.