At the end of the first period, the Detroit Red Wings had a 3-0 lead, having played one of the best periods of hockey they'd play all year featuring a pair of goals by Henrik Zetterberg.
It may well have been the last happy moment for a while.
The Los Angeles Kings scored three goals in the second period, then Michal Handzus scored his second goal of the game with 2:21 left in the game to complete a stunning comeback and reach a franchise-record nine-game winning streak with a 4-3 win.
To make matters worse, three Red Wings players left the game with injuries. Tomas Holmstrom left the game with a leg injury late in the first, then Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller both missed the entire third period after blocking shots with their bodies. While it was unclear at the end of the game what the extent of the injuries would be or if the three players would miss any more time, the losses in addition to the absence of Niklas Kronwall for the second straight game makes Wings fans even more jumpy.
It was three distinct periods of hockey: the first dominated by Detroit, the second dominated by Los Angeles, and the third with the Red Wings having far more chances, but the Kings managing to put one of theirs into the net.
Jimmy Howard made 23 saves, but one huge misplay that lead to the Kings' second goal. For the Kings, Jonathan Quick recovered from a rough first period where he made only five saves on eight shots to blank the Red Wings the rest of the way with 20 saves.
Pavel Datsyuk started the scoring when brought the puck from the far blue line diagonally to the near corner to the left of Jonathan Quick. He waited for a couple seconds, then put the puck straight across to Zetterberg, who was camped out on the right side of the crease. Zetterberg's quick shot gave Quick no chance. Brian Rafalski picked up the second assist on the goal.
Just 16 seconds later, Valtteri Filppula came in across the crease from Quick. After getting to the right of Quick, Filppula spun around and fired a backhand that beat Quick for his fifth of the season. Dan Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi each picked up assists on the goal.
As the first period came to a close, Nicklas Lidstrom put a shot that was well to the right of Quick, where it came to Rafalski. Rafalski's shot was glove saved by Quick, but Quick couldn't hold onto it, and Zetterberg put the puck back into the net for his second of the night and 16th of the season, giving him the team lead with just 4.7 seconds left in the period.
In the second, Cleary turned over the puck behind the net, where Jarret Stoll found it and gave it over to Scott Parse. Parse went behind the net with the puck, brought it out the right side, and gave it a shot that Howard stopped, but Alexander Frolov brought the puck from the opposite side of the goal line and jammed it in along the post for his 13th.
Then, on what was a routine dump-in, Howard lost control of the puck playing it to the right of the net. Handzus was there, and he was able to push it past Howard to get his 14th unassisted.
But the Kings weren't done in the second. Wayne Simmonds took the puck from behind the net to the right of Howard and pushed it into traffic in front of the net. Ryan Smyth somehow found it amongst the sticks and legs and went through Howard for his 18th of the season, while Matt Greene picked up the second assist.
Frolov had Brad Stuart covering him as he skated out from behind the net. He passed the puck to Parse, who was moving towards the front of the net and put a shot on Howard. While Howard was able to stop that, the puck dribbled to his right, where Handzus was waiting to put it in the lower far corner for his second of the night and 15th of the season to complete the comeback.
The Red Wings are off until Tuesday, when they face the St. Louis Blues in St. Louis.
Player of the game: Henrik Zetterberg. On top of his two goals, he had 15 attempts on net (including nine shots), two of which hit posts in the third period.