LOS ANGELES -- Ralph Krueger didn't want to use the word adversity to describe what happened to the Buffalo Sabres at the start of their three-game, West Coast road trip.
The loss in Anaheim was only one game, a valuable lesson less than two weeks into the season, Krueger said. The Sabres' coach expressed confidence that his power play would take a simple approach Thursday night in Los Angeles and that the irresponsible puck management would not be an issue.
The latter proved to be a problem again. However, the Sabres were bailed out by goalie Carter Hutton in a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings inside Staples Center. Buffalo (6-1-1) scored a pair of first-period goals and added to its lead with Casey Mittelstadt's second of the game.
The Sabres, though, had another ugly second period in which Hutton was forced to make 17 saves. The Kings (2-5) failed to capitalize when they had a 5-on-3 power play for 1:12. Hutton made 47 saves, his most as a Sabre, for a second consecutive shutout.
Opening salvo: Following a slow start to the season, Mittelstadt's line finally experienced a breakthrough. Mittelstadt, a 20-year-old center, checked a Kings player to jar a puck loose from the boards.
Jimmy Vesey retried the puck, drew a defender to him in the offensive zone and passed to Mittelstadt, who one-timed a shot into the net for a 1-0 lead at 2:36 into the first period.
Mittelstadt again: The Sabres' first-round draft pick from 2017 made another impressive play to push the lead to 2-0 at 5:20 into the game. Mittelstadt tracked a pass from Rasmus Dahlin, got the puck to the blade of his stick and made a perfect cross-ice pass to Conor Sheary.
Sheary quickly one-timed a shot into the net before goalie Jack Campbell could get to the other side of the net. The Sabres were out-shot, 11-7, but had the fast start Krueger wanted. They entered the game with a plus-7 goal differential in the second period of games this season.
Oh, what a night: Mittelstadt scored his second goal of the game at 2:32 into the second period, when Rasmus Ristolainen's centering pass was deflected into the net for a 3-0 lead. Otherwise, the Sabres played an ugly second period. They were out-shot, 17-10, and seemed to lose momentum when Marcus Johansson was penalized for slashing at 8:40.
The Kings appeared to control the puck in the Sabres' defensive zone for most of the second period, forcing Carter Hutton to make a number of difficult saves. Ilya Kovalchuk hit the post, Tyler Taffoli missed the net from the high slot, Jeff Carter's shot from the left circle was stopped and Carter's rebound attempt was blocked by Hutton's leg pad.
The Sabres' only quality scoring chance in the second half of the period came when Campbell stacked his leg pads to stop Zemgus Girgensons.
Lineup: Sheary, who missed the previous four games with an upper-body injury, returned to the Sabres' lineup and replaced Evan Rodrigues. Forward Curtis Lazar and defenseman John Gilmour were also healthy scratches for Buffalo.
Next: The Sabres are expected to have an off-day Friday and morning skate Saturday in preparation for their game against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center.