The Kings sure didn’t start strong enough to suit coach Darryl Sutter on Thursday night.
They didn’t play all that well in the middle, either.
As for the ending?
Well, Sutter said it best after a defenseless 5-2 loss to the Dallas Stars at Staples Center. “We couldn’t handle the Benn line,” he grumbled after Dallas center Jamie Benn and ageless winger Jaromir Jagr skated circles around the Kings, ending their six-game home winning streak. “Nobody answered, took responsibility. Goalie, defense and forwards. We couldn’t handle that line. Benn and Jagr were too much for us.”
The 41-year-old Jagr scored twice, including the back-breaking goal a little more than four minutes after Brenden Morrow gave the Stars the lead for good at 3-2 only 5 minutes, 16 seconds into the third period. Sutter wasn’t happy about Jagr’s goal, but Morrow’s really irritated him.
“Stoll in the corner, Slava shouldn’t go there. Scuderi? I don’t know,” Sutter said, breaking down the Kings’ coverage breakdown by pointing out that with Jarret Stoll marking his man in the corner, defenseman Slava Voynov should have stayed near the net to pick up Morrow. Voynov’s defense partner, Rob Scuderi, also should have covered the net, according to Sutter.
“If you’re giving up four goals a game, you can’t win,” Sutter said, referring to the Kings’ losses last Saturday to the Vancouver Canucks, their victory Tuesday over the St. Louis Blues and their loss to the Stars. “You need better goaltending and better defense. Simple.”
Sutter also criticized the play of goalie Jonathan Quick. “Well, I think we didn’t get good enough goaltending tonight,” Sutter said. “We need to raise the save percentage. It’s a stat that tells the truth. If there’s one stat that doesn’t lie … right? (Dallas’ Kari) Lehtonen was at about .940 or so. That’s a stat that always holds true.”