We’re doubling our pleasure here because it’s just that good. The save of the night comes from overtime between Pittsburgh and Nashville where Pascal Dupuis bailed out his goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from losing in embarrassing fashion, preventing Cody Franson from stuffing home a loose puck off a J.P. Dumont shot. Shortly after that, Kris Letang would fire a bullet past Pekka Rinne to give the Penguins the 4-3 win in overtime.
This isn’t quite the start the Los Angeles Kings were hoping for.
A crummy record out the gate (2-5-1) was exacerbated further by an embarrassing 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres in their own backyard on Saturday — their fourth straight loss.
Seemingly a breaking point, the Kings held a 20-minute closed-door meeting after the game (general manager Rob Blake included) to try and get a handle on why they’ve been so lousy.
The problems in L.A.? Well, they run deep.
Ilya Kovalchuk‘s addition to the lineup over the summer and the return of Jeff Carter after missing most of last season hasn’t translated into higher numbers on the Kings’ side of the jumbotron so far.
L.A. sits 29th in the league in goals-for with 15, keeping company with fellow Pacific Division misfits in the Edmonton Oilers and Arizona Coyotes, who sit below them.
Stopping pucks has been an issue, too. The Kings have allowed 28 goals in eight games so far, fourth-most in the league. Jonathan Quick‘s layoff due to injury didn’t help matters, but consider that the Kings allowed the fewest goals of any of the 31 NHL teams last season.
You can add in the fact that Los Angeles is in the bottom third in the league in terms of power play (10.7 percent) and penalty kill (71.4 percent).
It’s not good enough.
“We’ve accepted being OK and it’s not OK . It’s not working,” defenseman Jake Muzzin told the Los Angeles Times. “It would be a long year, and guys would be moved if this continues. It’s not what we want, so we’ve got to take a look in the mirror and turn this ship around.”
If the Kings were losing to top teams, that would be one thing (and they played the Toronto Maple Leafs and lost that game, so there’s that). But some of their losses have come against teams that were supposed to be disasters this season.
– 5-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators
– 7-2 loss to the New York Islanders
– 5-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres
That’s four goals in three games against opponents they should, at the very least, put up a fight against.
Add in the 4-1 loss against Toronto and they’ve been outscored 21-5 during their losing streak.
Kings head coach John Stevens doesn’t have the answers, either.
“I’ll be honest, I don’t have an answer at this second,” Stevens said after the game. “I thought after the way we played the other night we’d have come and ripped the doors off the hinges tonight. We have great fans here, and guys love playing at home because of the support we get at home here. I don’t have an answer right now.”
Where’s the fight back?
“It’s missing,” Stevens said.
Stevens might want to sort that out soon. His job could be on the line. But while he has a job to do, so do the guys on the ice.
Anze Kopitar had 92 points last season. He has two goals in seven games thus far.
Adrian Kempe has a single goal.
Tanner Pearson has an assist.
Quick has a .793 and .840 save percentage in his two games since returning from injury, respectively.
Score more, defend better and stop more pucks — the Kings simply need to be better.
OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (AP) — A technology company founder who formerly owned the New York Islanders hockey team has died. Charles Wang was 74.
His attorney John McEntee says in an emailed statement that Wang died Sunday in Oyster Bay, New York. A cause of death was not disclosed.
McEntee says Wang had attended only one Islanders game before agreeing to buy the team in 2000.
He was the majority owner until 2016 and since then had been a minority co-owner.
Wang was born in China and moved to the United States with his family as a child.
He founded Computer Associates, now called CA Technologies, in 1976 and was chairman and CEO until 2000.
Survivors include his wife, children, mother and brothers.
1. Mark Stone
The fantastic two-way winger performed at a high level for Ottawa, generating two goals (including the impressive overtime game-winner) and an assist while logging a busy 20:53 time on ice.
On a night where stone generated a +2 rating, the 26-year-old fired four shots on goal, delivered two hits, and blocked two shots. Stone was probably the biggest reason the Senators won a battle of not-as-dour-as-expected teams.
(See his booming OTGWG in the highlights section.)
Gabriel Landeskog‘s two goals (and five goals in two games) grabs your attention, but MacKinnon actually had the better overall game.
MacKinnon scored one goal, already his eighth of 2017-18, and also generated two assists. They were primary helpers on both of Landeskog’s goals.
It was an all-around effort for the speedster, as MacKinnon finished +2, generated five SOG, and also delivered a hit and a blocked shot. About the only thing you’d ask for is more success on draws.
Philipp Grubauer was crucial to Colorado’s success, too, stopping 42 out of 43 shots.
(For more on MacKinnon’s rise to stardom, click here.)
3. Jeff Skinner
Regardless, Skinner’s starting to heat up for Buffalo, with all six of his points coming during the Sabres’ last four games. Skinner’s hat-trick goal itself was an empty-netter, but his Saturday was still sterling; he scored on all three of his SOG and sported a +4 as Buffalo added to the Kings’ miseries. Jack Eichel was fantastic in his own right, collecting three assists.
This sort of result really has to be heartening for the up-and-down Sabres.
When in doubt, go with overtime game-winners. There were a few to choose from on a busy Saturday around the NHL, but let’s go with Stone’s authoritative shot:
In what might have been the real highlight of the night, Peter Laviolette lost a bet, and well, this happened:
Not bad, Marc-Andre Fleury.
This is quite the zany group of former Senators:
What was that line? Living well is the best revenge?
Flyers 5, Devils 2
Avalanche 3, Hurricanes 1
Sabres 5, Kings 1
Jets 5, Coyotes 3
Blues 4, Maple Leafs 1
Senators 4, Canadiens 3 (OT)
Red Wings 4, Panthers 3 (OT)
Blackhawks 4, Blue Jackets 1
Wild 5, Lightning 4 (OT)
Canucks 2, Bruins 1 (OT)
Golden Knights 3, Ducks 1
Predators 3, Oilers 0
Sharks 4, Islanders 1
This marks Crawford’s second game back from concussion issues that put his season – if not career – on the line, and he’s been thrown right in the deep end. The veteran goalie has faced at least 30 shots in each of his two appearances, so Chicago hasn’t exactly been able to make it an easy return.
“Yeah, we gotta play better in front of him, no doubt,” Patrick Kane said, according to the Athletic’s Mark Lazerus. “It’s one of those things where we played pretty well the first five games, then all of a sudden he comes back and maybe you’re just expecting him to bail you out — which he has the past two games.”
Perhaps the clearest moment of Crawford bailing his team out came on this save, as Artemi Panarin made things happen very quickly in setting up this scoring chance for Pierre Luc-Dubois:
Following the 4-1 win, Crawford said that he felt like he was reading plays well, and the numbers back that up. The Blue Jackets fired 11 shots on goal on their four power-play opportunities, but Crawford shut the door on all of them.
With this victory, the Blackhawks continued their generally strong start to the season, improving their record to 4-1-2, giving them 10 standings points from seven games.
Before Crawford came back, Chicago was largely winning despite its goaltending, as Cam Ward looked shaky at best through five games. You could state that perhaps Crawford returned at the perfect time, but either way, this is a promising start for the goalie and his team.
It doesn’t guarantee that Crawford won’t suffer health-related setbacks as the season progresses, but so far, so good.