The Kings tightened up their defense, limited their opponent’s scoring chances and even kept their starting goalkeeper in the game.
And they still lost.
This time it was a 1-0 defeat Saturday evening against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center, the third straight loss for the Kings.
After getting outscored, 13-7, in the previous two games, their performance against San Jose could almost be viewed as a step forward, but the Kings are still in danger of falling into a deep abyss, similar to what happened earlier this season when they lost seven of eight.
The Kings managed to out-shoot the Sharks, 29-19, including 21-11 through two periods, but couldn’t find a hole in goalkeeper Antti Niemi, who had allowed four goals in the third period just five days earlier in a 4-0 loss to Los Angeles in San Jose. The Kings had their chances on the power play, but were o-for-3 with the man-advantage.
Devin Setoguchi tallied the game’s lone goal with 1 minute 6 seconds remaining in the second period, receiving a cross-ice pass just in front of the Kings’ blue line, cutting to the middle and flicking a long wrist shot past the stick side of Kings goalkeeper Jonathan Quick.
Quick was removed from the game Wednesday night in Phoenix after allowing six goals through 30 minutes of a 6-3 loss. The following night, he relieved back-up Jonathan Bernier in the second period after he allowed six goals in a 7-4 loss against the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.
Quick finished with 18 saves, but it was one too few. The Kings had not lost a 1-0 game since April 9, 2009, at Vancouver.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Kings, who host the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. The Kings are 0-2 against Chicago and will be playing their sixth game in the last nine nights.
More to come from the locker room.