LOS ANGELES — The fun in the California sun didn’t last very long.
Buffalo failed Thursday night in its attempt to build off a big win in San Jose, and the Sabres found themselves back in the loss column. Los Angeles’ power play made the Sabres pay for their trips to the penalty box, and the Kings skated to a 2-0 victory in quiet Staples Center.
Both of Los Angeles’ goals came with the man advantage as the Sabres gave the potent home team five chances. The Kings rank seventh on the power play and improved to 6 for 17 in the last four games.
“We played well at times in the game, but obviously we put them on the power play too much,” said coach Ron Rolston, who watched defenseman Tyler Myers take three minors and a fighting major. “It’s too many.”
The timing of the power-play goals made matters worse. Los Angeles scored in the final minute of the first period and connected again during the second just when it looked like the Sabres might be able to tie the game.
“That’s happened too much this year,” right wing Brian Flynn said. “We’re taking penalties at the wrong times. It seems like we’re going well, and then we kill all the momentum we have by taking a penalty.”
Buffalo boarded a bus for the quick drive to Anaheim following the game. They visit the Ducks tonight in the final outing of the three-game California trip. The Sabres host the Kings on Tuesday in their return to Buffalo.
Buffalo, which fell to 3-14-1, suffered more bad news in the third period as defenseman Christian Ehrhoff left the game with a lower-body injury.
“It’s something that we have to see how it develops overnight,” Ehrhoff said. “It was something that started developing in the first period, and then in the third period when I went up the ice it just got bad.”
Jonathan Quick, appearing in his 300th game, needed to make only 19 saves to get the shutout for the Kings.
“Their D corps is strong,” Sabres captain Steve Ott said. “They’ve got some big boys out there, big shutdown guys. We obviously gave them one by sending Robyn Regehr to them, so we knew what to expect.”
The Sabres opened the game with a textbook road period, controlling play for stretches and not allowing the Kings or their fans to get anything going. The effort went for naught as the Kings struck in the closing seconds.
Myers got nabbed for interference with 2:24 left, and Los Angeles’ power play went to work. Mike Richards planted himself in front and reached out to deflect Jake Muzzin’s point shot with only 35.9 seconds left.
Despite playing well, the Sabres still allowed the opening goal for the 16th time in 18 games and had their goal differential in first periods worsen to 22-2.
“That one definitely sunk us, but I thought our game overall was pretty solid,” Ott said. “Five-on-five, we were by far the better team.”
A penalty box parade midway through the second put Buffalo in a bigger hole. The Sabres earned the first power play of the sequence, but it lasted just 26 seconds as the refs whistled Jamie McBain for high-sticking. Drew Stafford departed for slashing 38 seconds later, giving the Kings a four-on-three advantage.
“It’s a 1-0 game and we’re on the power play, then two minutes later” they have an advantage, Rolston said. “That’s not a real good recipe if you want to have a successful night.”
Anze Kopitar fanned on his shot after accepting a cross-ice pass, but it helped his cause. Goalie Jhonas Enroth anticipated a point-blank blast, and he couldn’t adjust quickly enough to stop the fluttering puck.
“Those shots are pretty tough when they slow down like that,” said Enroth, who faced 28 shots. “It was an unfortunate bounce for me and our club.”
The Ducks have the longest points streak in the NHL at seven games (6-0-1). One of the victories was a 6-3 defeat of the Sabres last Saturday.
The Ducks also are riding a six-game home winning streak, the most victories to start a season in franchise history. Anaheim has outscored the opposition, 26-10, in Honda Center. The 26 goals match the most through six games in club history, while their 10 goals allowed are the fewest.
Teemu Selanne, who returned early from a mouth injury, will play his 1,400th game to join Nicklas Lidstrom and Jaromir Jagr as the only European-born NHL players to reach the milestone.
“It’s frustrating when you don’t get the wins,” Enroth said. “We played pretty well, so we’ve got to come back and build on this.”