The Los Angeles Kings looked poised to contend in the Pacific Division after reeling off a four-game winning streak that included victories on the first two stops of their six-game road trip.
Three uninspiring losses later, they look more like the team that’s failed to qualify for the last six postseasons.
The Kings will try to end their longest road trip of the season on a positive note Monday night when they visit the division rival Dallas Stars.
Los Angeles (4-4-0) lost its home opener but won its next four games, giving early hope to a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2001-02.
The momentum built with those victories has started to fade. The Kings have been outscored 13-5 in losing their past three games, converting one of 17 power-play opportunities in that span after going 7 for 21 (33.3 percent) in their first five contests.
Los Angeles was 0 for 5 with the man advantage Saturday in a 4-1 loss at Columbus.
“I’m not very happy about the game - not very happy,” coach Terry Murray said. “We need to check better and make better decisions with the puck.”
“We had a talk in (the locker room),” Greene told the Kings’ official Web site. “It was a good talk, there were a lot of points brought up and everybody knows what they’ve got to do in order to stop the bleeding.”
Dallas (3-1-3), meanwhile, was facing a tall order Saturday at Chicago - one night after failing to muster any offense in a 3-0 home loss to Boston.
“Alex was our best player,” Dallas coach Marc Crawford said.
The Stars have already had three games end in shootouts - losing them all - and seeing a game go past regulation was nothing unusual against the Kings last season. None of the six games between the Pacific foes was decided by more than one goal, four went into overtime and three ended in shootouts - with Los Angeles winning two of those.
While the Kings are dealing with the flu - Alexander Frolov(notes), Teddy Purcell(notes) and Justin Williams(notes) were all questionable but played against Columbus - the Stars are having their own health issues. Jere Lehtinen(notes) missed both games over the weekend with an abdominal injury, and Mike Modano(notes) has only played once this season because of a rib injury.
Crawford is hoping Lehtinen can play against the Kings, while Modano is expected to return to practice Monday.