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McLellan blasts Kings: 'Stupidity that went into that loss is unexplainable'

Todd McLellan Todd McLellan - The Canadian Press

The Los Angeles Kings lost 5-3 to the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday, dropping their record to 2-7-5 since Dec. 28 as their grip on a playoff spot loosens. 

The Kings held a 3-1 lead less than 10 minutes into Wednesday's loss, but were held scoreless from that point on as the Sabres scored two goals in the second period to tie the game after 40 minutes and pulled away with two third-period markers.

Head coach Todd McLellan, who received a vote of confidence from general manager Rob Blake last week, sounded off on his team's performance against the Sabres. 

"That’s unacceptable. We’re up 3-1. We’re maybe not playing our best, but the stupidity that went into that loss is unexplainable," he said. "I haven’t until now been able to come in and say, ‘Boy, we played really dumb.’ And that’s what we did.”

Kings captain Anze Kopitar and captain Drew Doughty also blasted the effort in Wednesday's loss, with both pointing to too much focus on individual play. 

“What I’m seeing is we’re not playing as a team right now,” said Kopitar. “We’re worried about scoring goals too much and not buying into the stuff that made us successful the first 30, 35 games of the year. And it’s frustrating, so we’re going to have to correct it and we’re going to have to correct it in a hurry.”

“I think we’ve got guys in this room who are too worried about themselves and worried about their points and worry about stuff like that,” added Doughty. “We had a 3-1 lead tonight, and guys started thinking it’s a cookie night, and we stopped playing the way we know how to play.

“We have an awful second period and then aren’t much better in the third. It’s about the team. It’s not about yourself, and a lot of guys on this team, we need to realize that.”

The Kings continue to hold the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference, but have just a three-point cushion on the St. Louis Blues, who are currently outside the playoff picture. 


McLellan: 'I’m responsible for this'

McLellan was asked once again Wednesday about his job security and vowed to continue to work to find the success the team enjoyed early in the campaign. 

"If I was sitting in your seat and you were standing here, I’d ask you that,” McLellan said. “I’m responsible for this. And when you looked at the team that played the first 25, 30 games, it doesn’t look like the team that’s playing right now. And I’m responsible for it.

“Our staff is doing what we can or what we believe we can to get them to turn it around. We’re trying different things at different times. But I’m going to keep pushing away. I’m going to try and push buttons, poke people, praise people, look at how we do things.

“Our numbers - our underlying numbers - say we’re more the first-half team than the second-half team, but the winning column doesn’t say that, and that’s all that matters. So, it’s a very fair question.”

The Kings have three games remaining before the All-Star break, starting Friday against the Avalanche, with a key matchup against the Blues to follow on Sunday.