The Penguins experienced a bit of a letdown Saturday afternoon against the Kings after their strongest offensive performance of the season.
Coming off a strong game against the Sharks in which they scored five goals, the Pens continued their western road trip against the Los Angeles Kings. The game saw the Pens fall behind in shots and goals by the second period. A late comeback attempt fell just short, though the Pens had some good chances.
The Pens and the Kings entered the game nearly equal in terms of both record and defensive stats.
The Pens were without the services of Kris Letang. David Warsofsky took his place in the lineup. Warsofsky actually saw time both on the powerplay and the six-man unit at the end of the game.
No goals in the period, though the Kings led the game in shots by a wide margin.
The Kings broke the stalemate early in the period with a powerplay goal from Drew Doughty.
Closer to the midway point, ex-Penguin Christian Ehrhoff got his first goal of the season.
On the Kings’ third goal, Maatta joined a rush and Plotnikov got caught deep when he should have covered for Maatta. The Kings got a two-on-one after Muzzin blocked Cullen’s shot. Former Bruin Lucic put the puck past Fleury.
Just 23 seconds later, Kunitz cut the lead to two again. But less than a minute after that, Muzzin made it 4-1 Kings.
Maatta gave the Pens some life with a little over a minute left in the second. A two-goal deficit is a lot easier to overcome with a period left to play.
Dustin Brown cut off a pass right in the slot in front of Fleury, but Maatta was able to prevent Brown from getting a shot.
The Penguins found themselves down by just a goal as Crosby’s line kept the puck in the Kings’ zone. Kunitz dug the puck off the wall and moved it back to Dumoulin. Crosby masterfully redirected Dumoulin’s shot pass over Quick’s glove. 4-3, Kings still with the lead.
Kessel drew a high-sticking penalty and the Pens were on the PP with a chance to tie the game. However, the Kings killed the penalty and seemingly gained momentum, going on a powerplay of their own soon after. Crosby and Dupuis had a great shorthanded chance, and the Penguins killed it. Malkin got taken down on a good chance in front, but no call.
Marian Gaborik broke through on a breakaway and got hooked, but Fleury made a nice save on the resulting penalty shot. Fleury made another game-saving stop with the blocker on a Lucic shot just moments later.
Plotnikov had a great shift with Malkin, moving the puck and crushing one of the Kings defenders.
As time ebbed away, the Pens had to pull Fleury. The Kings shut down all of the Penguins’ offensive chances and Lucic scored on the empty net to ice it for the Kings.