Rangers spoil Jonathan Quick’s homecoming in loss to Kings


LOS ANGELES — It was supposed to be Jonathan Quick’s night.

And it still was, to a degree, considering the future Hall-of-Fame goaltender was one of the only Rangers players to show up in the team’s 2-1 loss to the Kings Saturday night at Crypto.com Arena.

Quick had to deliver in his return to Los Angeles, the city he spent 16 years in and won two Stanley Cups for before he was traded, but the rest of the Rangers didn’t hold up their end of the bargain.

The last time the Rangers played the Kings, a 4-1 win at the Garden in December, the team rallied around Quick and bounced back from their first set of back-to-back losses of the season.

There was no such passionate push from the Blueshirts this time around against a Kings team that had lost 10 of its past 11 games coming into Saturday’s contest.

The magnitude of the moment for their teammate didn’t provide a jolt.

Quinton Byfield (left) scores the go-ahead goal on Jonathan Quick during the Rangers’ 2-1 loss to the Kings. AP

Neither did head coach Peter Laviolette’s lineup change of Tyler Pitlick for Nick Bonino.

The Rangers coasted through the game at one mediocre level on their way to their sixth loss in their past eight games.

Despite Quick’s efforts, withstanding 12 shots compared to the two Kings goalie David Rittich saw in the first period alone on the way to 22 saves on the night, the Rangers struggled to sustain consistent offensive zone time and fell behind early.

Trevor Moore’s spin-o-rama pass went right to the stick of Kevin Fiala, who beat Braden Schneider to deposit the puck past Quick with 34.4 seconds left in the opening frame.

Jonathan Quick, who made 24 saves, defends the net during the Rangers’ loss. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

The Rangers were limited to just two shots on goal through the first 20 minutes, with the last one coming at the 3:51 mark. The next one didn’t come until 6:16 in the second period, which means the Rangers went a concerning 22:25 without a single shot on goal.

It may have been a low-energy affair, but the Rangers looked stuck in the mud at times.

Rittich, who stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced, didn’t have to work too hard in this one. Even when the Rangers earned a power play within the final two minutes of regulation, their best chance came on a rebound that went to Alexis Lafreniere, who couldn’t capitalize.

And yet, the visitor’s deficit somehow remained at one until Adam Fox’s long feed through traffic to Chris Kreider evened the score in the middle frame. They were fortunate to have a 1-1 game on their hands at that point, but the Rangers didn’t even generate much momentum from the goal.

Ryan Lindgren passes the puck in front of Quinton Byfield during the second period of the Rangers’ loss. AP

The Kings appeared to be pushing a lot harder to spoil Quick’s homecoming, compared to how the Rangers were playing to win it for him.

Jaret Anderson-Dolan then skated around K’Andre Miller on the rush to put the puck on net, which was saved by Quick before the Rangers defenseman’s clearing attempt went right to the stick of Quinton Byfield for the go-ahead goal to make it 2-1.

This was supposed to be the perfect time for an emotional game, just like when the Rangers met the Kings for the first time this season.

Lately, emotion has been hard to find in the Rangers game in general.

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