The Los Angeles Kings began the week hoping they'd put a frustrating stretch behind them. Instead, they responded with their worst performance of the season.
The Kings hope a four-game homestand will help them bounce back, starting Thursday when they face off against the St. Louis Blues.
Los Angeles (11-12-4) is 1-3-1 this month, which began with three straight losses where it led entering the third period. The Kings snapped the losing streak with a 3-0 win over Columbus on Saturday, but then suffered their largest loss of the season Tuesday in a 6-1 defeat at Colorado.
Oscar Moeller scored the only goal for the Kings, while Jason LaBarbera yielded all six goals on only 26 shots.
"It was a pretty (expletive) effort by everyone," LaBarbera said. "Just didn't seem like we were ready from the get-go. They got every bounce you could have. Three or four of those goals were pretty good bounces. We just weren't ready tonight."
The Kings have yielded four goals or more in each of their last three losses, and coach Teddy Murray said everyone needs to step up.
"We can't carry anybody," he told the Kings' official Web site Wednesday. "We are not good enough. That was our message at practice."
LaBarbera, who fell to 5-7-2 after Tuesday's loss, will get Thursday night off, with the Kings' Web site reporting that Erik Ersberg will start instead. Ersberg is 6-5-2 with a 2.52 goals-against average this season. One of those wins came at home against the Blues on Nov. 8, when he yielded three goals on 27 shots but Los Angeles prevailed 5-3.
The Kings are 2-0-0 in the season series with the Blues, whom they've outscored 9-3 in those games.
The Kings are also 6-2-2 in their last eight games at Staples Center, but this four-game homestand promises to be challenging. After hosting St. Louis, Los Angeles will face two division leaders in the New York Rangers and San Jose, and a strong Minnesota Wild team that boasts the league's stingiest defense.
The Blues (12-12-3) failed to win their third straight game Wednesday, falling 4-2 to the Anaheim Ducks in the opener of a three-game road trip. B.J. Crombeen and Brad Boyes scored the goals for the Blues.
Boyes has found the back of the net in two straight games and five of his last seven. He also has six assists during that span.
"We fought them hard and we came on in the third period and tied them up," said St. Louis goaltender Chris Mason, who took over in net after Manny Legace left injured. "They put a lot of pressure on us and it ended up in our net. Good teams win games like that."
It seems unlikely Legace will play in this game after taking a knee to the head late in the first period Wednesday. He's listed as day-to-day.
Mason has dominated Los Angeles, compiling a 4-1-0 record with one tie and a 1.44 GAA. His backup will be rookie Ben Bishop, who was recalled from the AHL and is 1-0-1 with a 2.41 GAA in three appearances for St. Louis this season.
The Blues have lost five of their last seven visits to Staples Center.