The Los Angeles Kings resumed play Tuesday evening with a 6-3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in their first game at the renamed Crypto.com Arena following three coronavirus-related postponements.
Kings’ center Anze Kopitar assisted on Adrian Kempe’s first-period goal to move into second on the team’s career list with 673, one ahead of Wayne Gretzky. Marcel Dionne is the leader with 757.
Kempe also assisted on Alex Iafallo’s third-period goal before a crowd announced at 14,887 at the 18,230-seat arena.
Jonathan Marchessault had two goals and an assist and Reilly Smith and Chandler Stephenson each had a goal and an assist for the Pacific Division-leading Golden Knights (21-12-0).
The game was the first for the Kings (14-12-5) since Dec. 19 when they defeated the Washington Capitals, 3-2, in Washington.
Their game against Edmonton planned for last Wednesday was postponed after the NHL and its players union announced Dec. 19 that all games involving a Canadian-based team playing a U.S.-based team through last Thursday’s planned start of the holiday break would be postponed and rescheduled due to COVID-19 issues.
The NHL announced Dec. 20 it would begin its holiday break two days earlier than planned at the conclusion of last Tuesday’s play because of the significant increase of players landing in the league’s COVID-19 protocol. The earlier start to the break meant the Kings’ road game against Vegas scheduled for Thursday would be postponed.
On Friday, the NHL pushed the target date for resumption of games one day to Tuesday to allow the league an adequate opportunity to analyze league-wide coronavirus testing results and assess teams’ readiness to play.
The Kings had been scheduled to resume play Monday with a game at Arizona.
The coronavirus has prompted the NHL to postpone 80 games, with one made up and one rescheduled.
The league announced Tuesday that the Detroit Red Wings at New York Islanders game scheduled for Wednesday had been postponed due to COVID-related issues affecting both clubs.
The NHL also announced Tuesday that due to current attendance restrictions in certain Canadian cities, nine additional games will be rescheduled for dates later in the season when such restrictions may be eased or lifted.
The NHL announced Dec. 22 that its players would not participate in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics because of the disruption to the regular-season schedule caused by COVID-19 postponements. It had scheduled a break in the regular season from Feb. 3-22 to accommodate the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas and the Olympics.
The All-Star Weekend remains scheduled as planned, with the 2022 NHL All-Star Skills set for Feb. 4 and All-Star Game set for Feb. 5. The planned Feb. 6-22 Olympic break will instead be used to reschedule postponed games.
The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association agreed Sunday to allow teams to have a taxi squad with a maximum of six players available to be added to the roster to minimize the chance for further game postponements or teams having to play shorthanded.
Southern California’s other NHL team, the Anaheim Ducks, are scheduled to resume play Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks at Honda Center following four coronavirus-related postponements.