Kings 4, Colorado 3, plus more Sturm.

First, the game:

The Kings dominated for 50 minutes before taking a string of penalties that allowed Colorado to score three goals — on its final three shots — to make the final score look closer than the game actually was.

“We definitely can’t be taking penalties that late in the game,” Drew Doughty said. “You see what happens, they almost caught up and took it to OT and that’s not something we want to be doing. We’ve got to learn from it, but [we're] happy with the game.”

The Avs were outshot 42-17 en route to losing for the 14th time in their last 16 games.

Anze Kopitar scored for the third time in his last three games, officially ending his drought. Alec Martinez, Doughty and Jarret Stoll all connected on long shots, the latter two coming on the power play.

Jonathan Quick made 14 saves for the victory. He got burned when he mishandled the puck behind the net — or miscommunicated with his defense, or both — which led to a Paul Stastny goal in the final minute.

The Kings’ 42 shots on goal set a new season high, and the 17 shots against were two off a season low. Considering the Kings spent 13:36 on the power play — almost a quarter of the game — it’s no surprise.

“We made it interesting at the end just through getting too casual, a little careless with some plays at critical times at the game,” head coach Terry Murray said. “You go into the third period with that kind of scenario you want to make sure you’re able to lock it down. Good teams do. You don’t get reckless or careless and start taking some penalties, especially the high sticking penalties. … We have to clean that part of it up right away.”

Now, about Sturm getting claimed off waivers by Washington and its implications:

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Sturm is out; Loktionov could be, too.

The Marco Sturm experiment ended today when the Washington Capitals plucked the veteran winger off waivers from the Kings.

On Thursday, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau told the Washington Post that third-line winger Eric Fehr would miss up to two weeks; adding Sturm could be in response to that injury. One must figure that the Kings did their homework on such a possibility before letting Sturm go. Now that he’s gone, the Kings are down a man entering today’s 1 p.m. game against the Colorado Avalanche.

Don’t expect Andrei Loktionov to be summoned from Manchester.

Monarchs head coach Mark Morris told the Manchester Union Leader that Loktionov is done for the season after sustaining a shoulder or wrist injury Friday.

No word yet on who Anze Kopitar’s left wing will be today.

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Sturm is placed on waivers.

The Kings placed forward Marco Sturm on waivers this morning. The veteran would only be gone in the unlikely event that a team is willing to pick up his $3.5 million contract for the remainder of the season. There aren’t too many contending teams that are willing or able to absorb that money.

But it could happen. The NHL trade deadline is looming at noon Monday. At a time of the season when teams tend to sacrifice prospects or picks for veterans, Sturm and his 238 career goals are available at the cost of zero prospects or picks.

That’s essentially what the Kings gave up in December to acquire Sturm from the Boston Bruins. He’s scored four goals and nine points in 17 games since, including no goals and an assist in two games since being activated off IR Wednesday. Asked to evaluate Sturm’s performance after the Kings’ 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild last night, head coach Terry Murray said “It’s coming. … I’d like to see more from him and I will see more from him.”

Maybe that was being a tad optimistic. There isn’t much time between now and noon Monday for the Kings to decide whether Sturm is the bona fide No. 1 left wing Anze Kopitar has needed since …well … for quite some time. Placing Sturm on waivers signals that the Kings are probably focusing their attention outside the organization, rather than inside, for that help.

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Kings 3, Ducks 2.

Willie Mitchell picked a good time to score his second goal of the season.

His long slapshot, off a perfect drop pass from Justin Williams, found its way through a screen at 6:45 of the third period and broke a 2-2 tie at Honda Center. The split crowd of 17,174 voiced its mixed emotions, and the Kings clinched their sixth win in the final game of a 10-game road trip.

Anze Kopitar scored his second goal in his last 16 games, Ryan Smyth scored his 20th goal of the season, and the Kings get to come home (even though they’ve been at home the last three days) to play Minnesota tomorrow night.

Here’s the game story and here are a few details I left out:
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Why Marco Sturm is in, and why Andrei Loktionov is out.

It would be easy to view Andrei Loktionov’s weekend demotion as a statement on the 20-year-old’s development – or the lack thereof.

Loktionov was scratched for Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders because “there were a couple more games where he’s starting to get exposed on system play,” Terry Murray said after the Kings practiced Monday. The coach specifically mentioned the shootout loss Thursday against the New York Rangers. “There were three or four different looks that they had that were because of (us) losing some coverage,” Murray said.

Come Sunday, Loktionov was playing for the Manchester Monarchs.
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Updates on Sturm, Parse, and media darling Rob Scuderi.

That collective sigh coming from El Segundo tomorrow morning will signal the end of the Kings’ brief layover in Southern California. After spending three full days at home, the last two of which included morning practices, it’s off to Pittsburgh and arguably the Kings’ toughest road trip of the season.

The six-games-in-10-days stretch includes games against four of the top seven teams in the Eastern Conference (plus the Islanders and the Blue Jackets).
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