The Golden Knights’ record for longest win streak will have to wait.
Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar scored twice in the first period, and the Knights saw their eight-game win streak snapped Sunday in a 4-1 loss at T-Mobile Arena.
“They came out with more juice like last time we played them here,” center Paul Stastny said. “Kind of two games in a row now where we’ve almost (waited) for the game to come to us and before you know it, it’s too late. It’s hard to play catch-up hockey.”
Kings goaltender Cal Petersen finished with 42 saves and outdueled counterpart Marc-Andre Fleury, who lost for the first time in six starts with his gold pads.
Shea Theodore scored the lone goal for the Knights, who were seeking to match the original Ottawa Senators as the only franchises to record a win streak of at least nine games within their first three seasons.
The Knights also won eight straight during their inaugural season.
Los Angeles, which is last in the Pacific Division, registered only 19 shot attempts during 5-on-5 play but scored twice on the power play to improve to 5-2-1 in its past eight games.
The Knights finished with 74.6 percent of the shot attempts (88-30) and had 49 scoring chances, according to NaturalStatTrick, but lost at home in regulation for the first time since Jan. 11.
“We didn’t start very well against a team that tries to make it very hard to play against them in the neutral zone,” defenseman Nate Schmidt said. “We weren’t getting our feet moving until maybe midway through the second period.”
Not sharp in net
Fleury won five straight and posted a 1.60 goals-against average with a .941 save percentage since dusting off the gold pads Feb. 15, but wasn’t at his best against the Kings.
Kopitar’s first goal came from a steep angle, and both of Los Angeles’ goals in the second period were plays that Fleury likely wants back.
Trevor Lewis took a stretch pass from Trevor Moore and skated across the blue line 1-on-1 against Nick Holden. Lewis stopped, turned and fired a shot that appeared to catch Fleury by surprise and went off the post and in for a 3-0 advantage at 10:03 of the second.
Late in the second, Fleury couldn’t handle a one-timer from Adrian Kempe on a power play and left a rebound sitting in the crease for Alex Iafallo to poke in.
With newly acquired Robin Lehner pushing for playing time down the stretch, Fleury can’t afford many more nights like this.
Skating in quicksand
Slow starts have plagued the Knights against Los Angeles. After giving up two goals in the first period Sunday, the Knights were outscored 8-0 by the Kings in the opening period of the past three matchups.
The Knights allowed a goal on the game’s first shot for the second straight game, and Los Angeles scored on two of its first four shots against Fleury.
Kopitar was left alone at the side of the net for his first goal 2:01 into the game, as there appeared to be a miscommunication between defensemen Zach Whitecloud and Nick Holden.
The Kings captain added his second goal when he pounced on a rebound after Fleury stopped Drew Doughty’s long drive on the power play.
The Knights have allowed 71 first-period goals, most in the NHL.
“I don’t if it was kind of lackadaisical just because we’ve been winning but we can’t think like that,” Stastny said. “We can’t look at what we’ve done in the last couple weeks.”
William Karlsson had a handful of chances for his 100th career goal, but couldn’t put it away.
The center was stopped twice in the first period by Petersen on a power play, and was turned away from close range with about 3:30 remaining in the second period.
Karlsson had another crack at it with 8:40 remaining in the third period, but wasn’t able to poke in a loose puck during a scramble in Petersen’s crease.