Kings’ late rally falls short against Avalanche

Kings’ late rally falls short against Avalanche

For the first time in four years, the Kings are winless three games into the season. Their latest defeat was their first in regulation, a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche at Staples Center on Tuesday night.

Here are five takeaways from the team’s third game of the season:

Another slow start

The Kings have surrendered the first goal in all three of their games, and Tuesday was the second straight game they struggled to find their legs in the opening minutes. The Avalanche dominated possession on each of the night’s first four shifts, quickly breaking through barely three minutes in on a rebound tap-in by Brandon Saad.

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Too many penalties

One of coach Todd McLellan’s biggest frustrations from the Kings’ opening week popped up again , as the team continued its parade to the box with six penalties — including four in the second period alone that led to their first two unsuccessful penalty kills this season.

A couple of the Kings’ calls Tuesday — especially a Jeff Carter interference call — were questionable, but the Avalanche’s dangerous power-play unit took advantage nonetheless with one-timer goals from Devon Toews and Mikko Rantanen snapping the Kings’ previously perfect 13-for-13 penalty-kill mark.

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Cal Petersen’s season debut

After promising performances from Jonathan Quick last week, goalie Cal Petersen made 21 saves in his season debut. Petersen was unavailable for the season opener because of COVID-19 protocols and needed a couple of practices this week to “to feel the puck a little bit” before appearing in a game, McLellan said.

There was one goal that Petersen wished he could have back, pointing to Toews’ one-timer from the point as “a save I can make,” he said, adding: “The pass went [to the point] and I lost it through the bodies of traffic and looked on the wrong side of the bodies. By that time, the puck was already headed to the net.”

Lineup changes

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The Kings shuffled their forward personnel, replacing injured Matt Luff with winger Carl Grundstrom and scratching healthy Michael Amadio in favor of offseason acquisition Lias Andersson, who was praised by McLellan after the game for “competitiveness” in his Kings debut.

In the third period, McLellan mixed his forwards around some more, placing Trevor Moore on Anze Kopitar’s and Alex Iafallo’s line.

“We got some good nights from some players; others have to pick it up a notch,” McLellan said, adding: “We needed to move a few people around to give different lines different ingredients.”

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Athanasiou scores again

Andreas Athanasiou tied a career-best goal streak by scoring for a third straight game on a top-corner wrist shot early in the third period. It sparked a rally too, as Adrian Kempe’s power-play goal cut the deficit to one later in the period. But the Kings couldn’t come all the way back.

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