Kings fight, but still come up short against Devils

  • The Kings’ Brendan Leipsic #14 shoots and scores as the Devils’ Andy Greene #6 defends during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Dec 6, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Kings players Alec Martinez #27 and Jake Muzzin #6 congratulate Brendan Leipsic #14 after Leipsic scored a goal during their game against the Devils at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Dec 6, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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  • The Devils’ Damon Severson #28 and the Kings’ Dustin Brown #23 battle for the puck as goalie Keith Kinkaid #1 looks on during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Dec 6, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Kings’ Anze Kopitar #11 and the Devils’ Andy Greene #6 battle for the puck during their game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Dec 6, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • New Jersey Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri, right, celebrates his goal as Los Angeles Kings right wing Tyler Toffoli skates in the background during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings left wing Brendan Leipsic, right, celebrates his goal with defenseman Alec Martinez during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown, left, dives for the puck as New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall takes it from him during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • New Jersey Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri, left, collides with Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • New Jersey Devils left wing Miles Wood, left, reaches in on Los Angeles Kings center Adrian Kempe, of Sweden, during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick gives up a goal to New Jersey Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac, left, tries to get a shot past Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings right wing Tyler Toffoli, left, tries to get a shot past New Jersey Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings left wing Austin Wagner, left, and New Jersey Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen, of Finland, race for the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown, left, tries to get a shot past New Jersey Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • The puck bounces off the cross bar on a shot by Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin as New Jersey Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid looks the other way during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings left wing Kyle Clifford, right, celebrates his goal with defenseman Jake Muzzin during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • New Jersey Devils defenseman Damon Severson, center, is hit on the face by the stick of Los Angeles Kings center Michael Amadio, right, after goaltender Keith Kinkaid, left, gave up a goal to Kyle Clifford during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty skates with the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Devils won 6-3. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, center, congratulates defenseman Jake Muzzin, left, on his goal as New Jersey Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid, right, watches during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. Doughty received an assist on the play and in doing so broke the Kings’ all-time assist record, reaching 334 assists and surpassing Rob Blake, who previously held the record. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, right, of Slovenia, falls as New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman takes the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Devils won 6-3. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick is scored on by New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier, of Switzerland, during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Devils won 6-3. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid stops a shot by the Kings’ Brendan Leipsic (14) during Thursday’s game at Staples Center. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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LOS ANGELES — Often times struggling teams can take solace in that they are at least playing well at home. Unfortunately for the Kings, that is not the case.

The Kings entered their game Thursday against visiting New Jersey with a record of 6-9-1 at Staples Center, 3-6-0 under interim coach Willie Desjardins, who took the controls Nov. 4 after John Stevens was fired.

But in the Devils, the Kings were taking on a team with a 2-10-1 road record and an 0-3-3 record in its previous six games.

It didn’t matter. The Kings fought from behind all night and lost 6-3.

New Jersey is now 10-12-5 (25 points). The Kings are 10-18-1 (21 points) and have lost four of their past five.

The Devils scored first when Kyle Palmieri delivered his 13th goal of the season, on the power play, at 13:49 of the first period.

The man advantage was courtesy of a high-sticking penalty on Dion Phaneuf.

Palmieri hammered the puck into the net over the left shoulder of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, with assists going to Taylor Hall and Will Butcher.

There were 13 seconds left on the power play when Palmieri scored. The Devils nearly scored about 40 seconds earlier when Quick was out of position and Nico Hischier sent a puck toward the net that would have gone in had Kings defenseman Derek Forbort not been there to block it.

Undaunted, the Kings tied the score at 15:41 on newcomer Brendan Leipsic’s third goal of the season, his first as a member of the Kings in just his second game with the club.

Leipsic received a cross-ice pass from Jake Muzzin, stopped inside the right face-off circle and shot the puck past New Jersey goalie Keith Kinkaid. Alec Martinez had the other assist.

It didn’t take long for the Devils to regain the lead in the second period, as Travis Zajac scored his ninth of the season just 25 seconds into the period. New Jersey came out hard, the Kings could not clear the puck and they paid for it.

The goal was unassisted. No blame to Quick on that one.

The Kings had fight on this night. Adrian Kempe again tied the score for the Kings when he put in his fourth of the season from close range at 6:59 of the period. Drew Doughty and Austin Wagner assisted.

For Doughty, it was career assist No. 334, making him the franchise’s all-time assists leader among defensemen. He surpassed team general manager Rob Blake.

Just under four minutes later, at 10:57, Palmieri scored his second of the game and 14th of the season for a 3-2 Devils lead. He received the puck just outside the attacking blue line, skated in and deposited the puck into the net over Quick’s right shoulder.

The Kings then were victims of bad luck when Will Butcher was given credit for a goal at 12:28 for a 4-2 Devils lead. He shot the puck from distance, and it drastically changed directions when it hit the stick of Phaneuf, giving Quick no chance to make the save.

A little more than a minute later, the Kings thought they had a goal by Muzzin. The light went on, but officials reviewed the play and ruled the puck never crossed the goal line after it hit first the crossbar and then the post before flying back out.

But again, the Kings weren’t about to roll over and they got within 4-3 when Kyle Clifford scored his fifth at 17:37 of the period. It was unassisted, as Kinkaid made a stick save of a long shot by Alec Martinez and then shoved the puck out into play, with Clifford driving it home.

However, Nico Hischier scored his sixth of the season at 11:06 of the third period for a 5-3 Devils lead.

Blake Coleman scored into an empty net for the Devils’ final goal.

More to come on this story.

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