Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson makes a save in the third period against the Los Angeles Kings at the Canadian Tire Centre. PICTURE: USA TODAY Sports
By Helene Elliott/Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Kings began their scheduled retreat to a mountain ski resort a bit early.
Their uncharacteristic defensive gaffes Monday too often left them in frequent retreat against the high-scoring Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. The Kings’ 5-3 loss ended their 7-0-2 points streak, matched the highest number of goals they’ve allowed this season — in their opener against San Jose — and sent them into their mini-break as a tired bunch intent on regrouping before they play Thursday at Montreal.
“Three, four out of the five goals, if not all of them, came from our mistakes and you just can’t do that, trade chances like that,” center Anze Kopitar said. “Not against a team like that, where they have speedy forwards with a lot of skill. It hurt us tonight.”
The Senators scored four times against Jonathan Quick on eight shots in the second period, capitalizing on an array of giveaways and stumbles to build a 4-1 cushion.
“I thought we looked like a tired team,” said coach Darryl Sutter, who dressed seven defensemen and 11 forwards because he wasn’t getting enough production from his bottom six forwards. Despite their fatigue in the fourth game of a six-game trip, the Kings did whittle the Senators’ lead to one.
Tyler Toffoli’s first goal in nine games, scored into a vacated net at 17:47 of the second period after the puck caromed off the end boards and eluded goaltender Craig Anderson, and Jake Muzzin’s shot from the high slot 10 minutes into the third period closed it to 4-3. But they couldn’t close the gap and the Senators, whose pride was questioned by coach Dave Cameron as he stewed over a loss to Montreal last week, held on for the win.
“It was a soft goal to make it 5-3,” Sutter said, less a description of Quick’s play than a condemnation of miscues that allowed Mika Zibanejad to loiter in front and convert a Bobby Ryan rebound. “Kind of takes the wind out of your sails.”
The Kings scored first, when Jamie McBain took a long lead pass from Jeff Carter and beat Anderson with a slap shot from the right circle at 14:21 of the first period, but Ottawa overcame that with a second-period push. Kings defenseman Brayden McNabb fell just before the Senators scored their first goal, by Mike Hoffman in front at 2:29.
Kyle Turris gave them the lead at 3:58 and the Senators stretched that to 3-1 after a pass by McNabb was intercepted. Erik Karlsson’s bouncer capped a spree of three goals in 3 minutes 34 seconds.
“I think we were just a little bit off in our passing and execution, and that allowed them to get some rushes and some opportunities to score,” Muzzin said. “When you give a team that’s a high-scoring team an opportunity to score, they’re going to score and that was clear tonight.”
Although the Kings made it close, they couldn’t complete a comeback. “It wasn’t the game that we drew up and we didn’t execute the way we wanted to,” said Toffoli, who played his junior hockey in Ottawa.
After the game, players, coaches and staff members headed to Mont Tremblant, which is about an hour and a half from Montreal but is a world away from the city’s constant hockey chatter. They’re due to be met there by defensemen Jeff Schultz and Nick Ebert, who were called up from Ontario (Calif.) of the American Hockey League on Monday after forwards Kyle Clifford and Trevor Lewis were placed on injured reserve because of upper-body injuries. The moves probably were for salary-cap purposes related to eventually placing defenseman Matt Greene on long-term injured reserve.
“Probably the craziness of Montreal is not the best thing for two straight days or three straight days,” Kopitar said, “and to get away from that just a little bit I think it’s certainly going to freshen up our minds.”
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