This one will probably stick with Drew Doughty for a while — although he’ll want to forget it as quickly as possible.
The Los Angeles Kings defenseman didn’t play particularly poorly against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night, posting a team-high 25:40 of ice time while registering four shots and finishing at plus-1, but a few minutes in the first period ruined the rest of the game for him and his team.
Doughty’s rough stretch started midway through the opening frame when an Adrian Kempe penalty put the Oilers on a power play. With Doughty on the ice to help defend Edmonton’s man advantage, Oilers star Leon Draisaitl received the puck from teammate Alex Chiasson. Draisaitl pondered his options from the right wing before attempting to slot a cross-ice pass to a waiting Chiasson in front of goal — only to watch as Doughty inadvertently kicked the puck past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick and into the Los Angeles net for the game’s opening goal.
Minutes later, Doughty again found himself on the ice against a feared Oilers forward. This time it was Connor McDavid, whose speed is just one of the many weapons at his disposal.
With the entire Kings team backpedaling while McDavid entered their defensive zone, Doughty lost his footing temporarily. To his credit, the 29-year-old blueliner managed to block McDavid’s pass attempt while prone on the ice and quickly got back to his feet to try to deliver a hit on the Oilers superstar.
Unfortunately for Doughty, his attempted check resulted in nothing but air as McDavid deftly avoided the challenge and sent the defenseman hard into the boards.
McDavid went on to produce the game-winning assist moments later.
Doughty did get a measure of redemption in the third period when he assisted on Michael Amadio’s goal to give the Kings life, but Edmonton held on for a 2-1 victory.
It has been a rough season for the last-place Kings and their highest-paid player. Friday’s first period just added to the misery.