Sabers unable to find rhythm in Kings loss


Frequent trips to the penalty box prevented the Sabers from setting a pace in a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Sunday.

The Sabers suffered six minor penalties, including three in the third period. The Kings fought back after a 2-0 deficit, tying the game on an Anze Kopitar power-play goal and taking the lead when Alex Iafallo sent a shot. Dustin Tokarski from the edge of the fold with 6:19 remaining.

“It wasn’t smooth today,” Sabers coach Don Granato said. “No rhythm, no fluidity. A bit of what they did, a bit of what we didn’t or couldn’t do against them. We didn’t generate enough chances , enough opportunities to put them on their heels at all times. “

Buffalo built their 2-0 lead with goals from Rasmus Asplund and Victor Olofsson, who both extended their personal point streak to three games. Los Angeles responded with a Carl Grundstrom goal to cut the deficit in half just a minute after Olofsson’s goal in the second period.

The Sabers killed all but one of the Kings six power plays, but still felt the consequences of the time in the box. They spent four of the last six minutes on the penalty kill due to penalties against Brett Murray (interference) and Colin Miller (game delay), which delayed their ability to shoot Tokarski for an additional attacker.

Video: BUF recap: Asplund and Olofsson score in 3-2 road loss

Granato felt the time spent killing penalties also negated any advantage the Sabers might have had in the energy department against a Kings team that had hosted the Canadiens 24 hours previously. Instead, the Kings capitalized on the momentum of their victory on Saturday and kept the Sabers on their heels.

“I thought it was a tough attack today,” said Granato. “There wasn’t much. They buckled up and tightened up really well at points. I thought that frustrated us, we didn’t manage well. We didn’t fight through it. Maybe that’s why we took an extra penalty or two. “

Video: AFTERGAME: Granato

The Sabers (5-2-1) shared the first two games of their trip to the West Coast. They recovered an overtime victory at Anaheim on Thursday after relinquishing a 3-0 lead.

“It’s a little harder to control momentum in someone else’s building,” he said. “You’ve got to pay a lot more attention to detail when you’re on the road and you’re in these situations. Like any other team, we’ve got to take all of this information up to us and take it to heart and become better with it. “

Another first for Asplund

Asplund scored his first career power-play goal as well as his first overtime goal in Anaheim, marking his first multi-goal outing in the NHL.

He added his first shorthanded goal against the Kings, stealing the puck into the defensive zone then slicing past a defenseman before beating goaltender Jonathan Quick from the lunge.

Video: BUF @ LAK: Asplund opens the scoring with shorthanded goal

Asplund has scored four goals in eight games this season.

Bryson sets up Olofsson

It took an effort all over the ice to Jacob Bryson to prepare for Olofsson’s goal, which put the Sabers 2-0 up in the second period. Bryson blocked a shot in the defensive zone, pushed the puck north into the neutral ice, then pushed back defenseman Kale Clague to give Olofsson an open lane towards the net.

“I was trying to make some room for Vic,” said Bryson. “He had a great shot and a great game on that goal.”

Video: BUF @ LAK: Olofsson shoots 2-on-1 transition goal at home

The goal was the fifth of the season for team leader Olofsson.

Cozens drops the glove

Dylan cozens fought Kings forward Brendan Lemieux in the second period, marking a Sabers’ first fight this season. Lemieux appeared to initiate the skirmish after Cozens controlled him along the planks.

The fight was Cozens’ third in 49 NHL games.

“He didn’t seem like he really had a choice,” said Granato, who added his perspective was from the side bench. “He was in a position where he had to defend himself pretty quickly, so I don’t think he initiated this by appearance. But I’ll have to watch again.”


The trip continues to San José on Tuesday. The game will air exclusively on ESPN + and Hulu with a drop game at 10:30 p.m. Find information about the streaming service here.


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