The Detroit Red Wings had a quick stop off in the Joe Louis Arena for a saturday night game against the Los Angeles Kings before heading on a three-game western road trip leading into the Christmas break. The Kings announced earlier in the day that they had hired former Calgary Flames head coach and GM Darryl Sutter to take over the team next week. This left interim coach John Stevens as a lame duck heading into Detroit for a game against a team angry about a poor result on a good effort two nights earlier.
Detroit jumped on the board early and never saw their lead drop below two goals after the first two minutes of the first period, which featured markers from Cory Emmerton and Drew Miller. The Wings (obviously) continued to pour it on, getting one more goal each from Emmerton and Miller while also adding markers from Niklas Kronwall, Brad Stuart, Pavel Datsyuk, and Henrik Zetterberg. The Kings were able to outshoot Detroit 29-27 and earned goals from Davis Drewiskie and Jarret Stoll to hit their high-water mark of the team's last ten games.
Bullet points after the jump.
- Jakub Kindl and Todd Bertuzzi were the two Wings who did not register a shot on goal. I think we can forgive them for that. There were only four Wings skaters (Kindl, Lidstrom, White, Filppula) who failed to earn a point in this contest. It's always fun to look at box scores which look like this.
- Speaking of peeking at box scores, Filppula, Hudler, and Kronwall were each a -1 on the night, and were on for each of the Kings' goals. Additionally, Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll, and Dustin Penner were all a +2 for the Kings. It doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things other than perhaps those three Kings' forwards weren't as bad as the rest of their team.
- I'm not going to lie, I had a bad feeling about this game prior to puck drop. I just figured that the Kings would take all the crap they've been through to this point and put together a full team effort. I thought they'd use the Wings as enough motivation to show their ownership, their GM, and their fans that they could compete with good teams and that they were ready to get headed in the right direction. Then, the Wings went up 3-0 before the game was ten minutes old and I realized that this LA team is a dumpsterfire right now. I still think they're a better team than their record lets on, but man they were ugly tonight.
- Emmerton with two goals and an assist is going to be your player of the game. He showed brilliant flashes of play. We can take arguments for a guy like Kronwall or Miller in the comments, but it's going to take some heavy lobbying to convince people otherwise.
- This is the first time all season (31 games) that the Red Wings have alternated a loss and a win. The streakiness streak has finally streaked itself out. That might be part of the reason I was so nervous coming into tonight's game.
- As a final thought, somebody mentioned that championship-caliber teams do not lose games the way Detroit did in Nashville on Thursday. There are still a lot of valid questions about the true pedigree of this squad and whether they truly have the means to make the ultimate deep run, but I'll tell you that this is the 2nd game we've seen the Wings welcome a team looking to prove something to themselves only to crush them. While it's true that championship-caliber teams don't lose games they lead by two goals, I'd also say that a good mark of a championship-caliber team is one that has the killer instinct it takes to sniff out and absolutely smoke a wounded animal when they come across one.