The Los Angeles Kings dropped their third straight game Friday night, against the Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings got out to an early, large lead and the Kings were never able to recover, ultimately losing 5-2.
Special teams was a glaring problem again, as the Kings gave up 2 power-play goals in the first period, on their way to a 4-0 deficit.
The first goal just had the Kings beat. The Red Wings won an offensive zone draw and immediately set up in the reverse umbrella. Four quick passes were untouched, and unforced by the Kings. Pavel Datsyuk at the right side boards hash-marks to Nicklas Kronwall at the point, to Henrik Zetterberg at the left side boards hash-marks to Gustav Nyquist in the slot to the back of the net. It was a beautiful goal, unless you’re a Kings fan.
Four minutes later Pavel Datsyuk did what he does best. The former 2008-2010 Selke Trophy winner stole the puck from Dwight King has he came out from behind the Kings net. Datsyuk curled around back towards the Kings net, and attempted a pass that went off of Jake Muzzin’s skate and past Jonathan Quick. 2-0 Red Wings.
Two minutes later with Mike Richards in the box for hooking the Red Wings were again moving the puck crisply and beautifully on the power-play. Nyquist to Kronwall to Zetterberg to Nyquist to Datsyuk to Kronwall; who fired a point shot wide a foot past the net. The missed shot came straight out back towards the front, right to Nyquist who started the play and ended it, slapping the rebound past a downed Quick. 3-0 Wings.
At this point the game was getting out of hand.
With 4:30 left in the first period it looked worse. In the Kings zone Red Wings forward Riley Sheahan dumped the puck behind the net for Nyquist. Nyquist got the puck and made a quick no-look backhand pass to Thomas Tatar at the side of the net. Tatar fired the puck high over Quick’s shoulder. 4-0 Wings.
The Kings stopped the bleeding in the second period, and scored a goal of their own to chip away at the Red Wings lead. After rushing up ice and into the Wings zone Alec Martinez put a backhand shot on goal. Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard attempted to cover the puck, but Mike Richards hacked it loose. Martinez, who was coming back around the other side of the net shot the loose rebound past Howard. 4-1 Wings.
In the third period, with the Red Wings on the power play, Dwight Kings put a shot on goal. Howard made the save and then dropped the puck from his glove to continue play. Four Red Wings players stood there watching, frozen. Tyler Toffoli came swooping in, picked up the puck circled in the corner and threw a pass out to Robyn Regehr at the point. Regehr one-timed a shot on goal, and Toffoli one-time snapped a big rebound past Howard for a short-handed goal. 4-2 Wings.
That’s Toffoli’s third shorty of the season, which puts him a top the NHL in short-handed goals.Oct 31, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35) stops a penalty shot by Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown (23) in the third period at Joe Louis Arena. Detroit won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Dustin Brown was awarded a penalty shot a few moments later, but was unable to score on Jimmy Howard.
With 1:10 left, the net empty, and the Red Wings skating in on a 3-on-2, Pavel Datsyuk was able to shoot in an empty netter to make the score 5-2.
Earlier Friday it was announced that Detroit Red Wings legend Gordie Howe suffered a stroke. The team showed a sign of strength for their man Gordie, by dominating their way to a defining, dedicated win over the Kings. What a way to wish Mr. Hockey a get well soon.
The Kings are now 0-5-1 against the Red Wings in their last six trips to Joe Lewis Arena. The last time L.A. won in Detroit was March 9th, 2011, over three years ago. The last time the Kings won in Joe Lewis Arena the Red Wings were in the Western Conference!
The Kings are still looking for their first win on the road this season, as the Kings are 0-2-2 when away from Staples Center.
This was the first game where That 70’s line struggled. Center Jeff Carter was a minus in the plus/minus category for the first time in a game this season.
The Kings took five penalties and allowed two goals on the penalty kill. The Kings were also 0-for-2 on the power-play. Not good. Too bad.
Jonathan Quick wasn’t his stellar self, but he wasn’t as bad as his numbers. There’s no excuse for allowing 4 goals on 35 shots for the world’s best goalie, but the truth is he didn’t have a chance on most of his goals against. He didn’t have much help defensively either.
The Kings need to sharpen up and bear down. Every game is important in the Western Conference, because a single point at the end of the season could mean the difference in the playoff cut off.
The Kings should look better Sunday as they take on the struggling Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes just got their first win of the season on Saturday night. A team as good as the Kings can’t afford to be Carolina’s second.