Good start, give up a soft goal, fall apart. Apparently this is the Wings' new game plan.
The Wings came home to Joe Louis Arena after their longest road trip of the season, and the home fans were treated in person to the same hockey the Wings played on while out west. After a strong start, the Kings scored a goal the Wings will want back and it felt like only a matter of time.
The Wings came out with a lot of urgency in the first period, and after a failed Wings' power play, Darren Helm ripped a shot from the half-boards that squeaked through Jonathan Quick to give the Wings an early 1-0 lead. The Wings kept the pressure on throughout the first frame, but were unable to get anything else by Quick, despite outshooting the Kings 11-3 in the period.
The Wings continued their strong play into the second period, but Quick displayed some of the brilliance that earned him a 5-0 shutout the last time these teams met at the Joe, making great saves on Kris Draper and Niklas Kronwall. Not long after that, Anze Kopitar banged home a rebound after a knuckleball point shot that Jimmy Howard could not corral. The Kings took their first lead of the game on a power play with about 6 minutes left. The refs missed a high stick on Lidstrom, who could not clear the zone. Dustin Brown tipped in a point shot from Alec Martinez and the Kings were in front 2-1. The Wings were outshot 14-10 in the period, and they entered the third looking for the equalizer.
Follow the jump for the third period and the bullets.
The third was a throwaway period. The Wings tried to mount offensive pressure, and the Kings settled into their prevent defense. Every time the Wings entered the Kings' zone, there were 4 white jerseys to thwart the attempt. This went on for the entire period, and when it was over, the Kings had frustrated Wing fans everywhere with a 2-1 win.
- It's official: the Wings are in a slump. Is it more than that? Hard to say. But since being up 7-1 to the Kings about a week ago, the Wings gave up 3 goals in 8 minutes to LA; lost 2-1 to Anaheim, 3-1 to San Jose, blew a 3 goal third period lead to lose to Phoenix and lost to LA. The team defense has not been great, but tonight it was good enough to get a win. But the intensity is lacking, and I'm not sure why. I'm going to play the part of the eternal optimist and say that it's simply a case of them trying to get through the grind of the regular season, but at some point, we need to see 60 minutes from this team against a quality opponent.
- So what happened tonight? What caused the Wings to just lose all of their drive? Was it Quick's 2 big saves in the second when it was still 1-0? Was it the bad bounce on the first goal? Was it the missed call on the high stick followed immediately by the 2nd Kings goal? The stifling defense by the Kings in the third period? I don't know, nor do I care: just fix the problem.
- Not to harp on this even further, but what made tonight even more frustrating was the fact the Wings played a great first period. They outshot the Kings 11-3, limited the quality chances against, and drew 2 penalties. It was a great start, but yet another poor finish.
- After starting the season 10-3-1 at home, the Wings have gone 7-8-2 since. The Wings need to once again make the Joe a house of horrors for their opponents.
- Really, there's not a whole lot to say about that game. Outside of Darren Helm (your Player of the Game), no one on the Wings had a particularly good game. Normally I'd chalk this up to being the first game back from a road trip, but when the team has lost 4 in a row, it's time to get concerned.
Enough negativity. For those that aren't aware (and if you're not, then where have you been?), Friday is H2H2. We've got a lot of things planned, so stay tuned for that. If you're not going, no worries: game threads will still be set up for the next 2 games. If you are, we look forward to meeting each and every one of you (with a few notable exceptions) and hopefully seeing a Wings win against Edmonton.