Los Angeles traffic is notoriously bad. Stacks of smog-producing cars clog the highway lanes as inhabitants of LA inch forward. Wednesday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins felt the same frustrations as the never-ending rush-hour traffic drives. The Penguins controlled the puck, the game but couldn’t get to the center lane in their 2-1 loss to the LA Kings on Wednesday night.
The Penguins outshot LA 37-22. LA had just two even strength shots in the first period but escaped with an early goal and a 1-0 lead. In the second and third period, Penguins had their mail delivered into the LA zone but couldn’t get through the constant traffic for a second goal.
“I thought we actually played pretty well for a lot of the night,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said. Even in the first period, it was hard to get any flow because of the special teams. Six of the 20 minutes is special teams, so it’s hard to get the flow in the first 20. I thought we had a lot of good looks. A lot of zone time. A lot of opportunity.”
Evgeni Malkin was able to navigate the maze with any regularity as he stickhandled through the LA blue line wall, which was often four-defenders wide. Otherwise, the Penguins chipped and chased.
The tight game magnified each mistake. LA didn’t make many, if any, mistakes. The Penguins made a couple of mistakes and those wound up…