Don’t you just love this team? They somehow are in a playoff position sitting 3rd in the Atlantic Division, yet have the 8th fewest ROW in the NHL. Currently, the Red Wings are riding a 4-game losing streak, and, of course, three of those loses came in overtime. As far as the Kings? They’re coming off a 2-1 Shootout win vs. their arch-rival in the Ducks Saturday. That win helped end a 3-game skid of their own. Will the Kings lose their 8th out of their last 10 games? Will the Red Wings losing streak hit rock bottom (this is 100% what I expect as I sit here writing this before the game)? Let’s get to it.
Kings nearly scored 30 seconds in as Anze Kopitar threw one to the front of the goal, but both Dustin Brown and Alex Iafallo weren’t able to jam it home. All Kings the first few minutes, but they were unsuccessful on a couple chances because they couldn’t hit the net. Just a real slow start to this game, but 6 minutes into the period, Drew Doughty took the first penalty of the game after sawing Nielsen’s stick in half. The Red Wings got a couple decent looks, but a lot of blocked shots from the Kings resulted in nothing for the PP.
Out of the first TV timeout, the Red Wings flipped the ice and controlled tempo. First great chance of the game came after Helm used his speed down the far side of the ice, fired one off of Quick’s low pad and gave Nielsen a wide open net on the rebound that, you guessed it, he missed.
Ok, now a second TV timeout, maybe pace of play will pick up after it. Both teams go back and forth as they exchanged decent chances, but Nielsen’s try still the best up to this point. A Mantha giveaway in the offense zone, resulted in a good chance from Tanner Pearson who was denied by Howard’s glove as he rushed down the near-side wing. Bingo Bango with under 6 minutes to go. Nielsen set up a nice 2-on-1 between Mike Green and Luke Glendening, Green faked the pass and buried one top corner against Quick. 1-0 Good Guys. LA took a high stick penalty which brought us to the final TV timeout, Red Wings 2nd PP out of the break.
Red Wings nearly scored on the PP, but a tough angle on a rebound led to Zetterberg putting the shot wide. A 2-on-1 developed for the Kings and even though they did not score, Abdelkader got a penalty for interference as he ran into Toffoli on the rush (very questionable call as Abby tried to get out of the way). Marian Gaborik generated a few looks on the PP, but Howard stood tall. Aaaaaand moments later Helm had a breakaway chance shorthanded and couldn’t handle the puck as he over skated it. Awesome. The Kings swarmed the last two minutes, but couldn’t score. A very slow, stagnant 1st Period ends.
Score: 1-0 DET
Shots: 14-11 LAK
Kings started the 2nd just as they started the 1st, putting pressure on in the offensive zone. Shortly after, off a Kings defensive blunder thanks to Nyquist and Abdelkader pressure, Ouellet jumped up into the high slot with a wide open chance before he deposited it right into Quick’s glove. Great chance, but no dice. Red Wings started to control play for a bit. First Larkin and Mantha nearly connected, then Nyquist and Kronwall had a chance, but Quick stood tall on both. Larkin-Mantha-Tatar has looked good and they almost connected on a nice 3-on-2 sequence only for Tatar’s shot to be blocked. First TV timeout.
Right out of the timeout, Jonathan Ericsson decided being 6’7” on skates means his stick has to be that tall too as he takes a high sticking penalty. Kings PP looked really good and they pretty much did everything other than score, Howard has looked great but has given up a lot of rebounds. The Kings continued to attack and Green eventually got called for a penalty with just under 10 minutes left in the 2nd Period.
Red Wings should have scored shorthanded. The Kings turned it over and Larkin was all alone in front with Quick down on the ice and somehow the Kings net-minder kept it out. Unreal. Outside of that play, the Kings really dominated the 2nd up to this point. Moments later, Larkin set up Nyquist on a breakaway. After a great head fake to get Quick to bite, he made another great save. Nyquist can’t buy a goal this year. Final TV timeout.
Kings top line finally got one. After Iafallo and Kopitar nearly scored, Brown circled around from behind the net and ripped one past Jimmy Howard. 1-1 with a little over 2 minutes to go. Shortly after, again Quick denied Nyquist twice. Absolutely filthy saves too, it’s #32’s game. Helm took an interference penalty with 15 seconds left in the period, and guess what happened? Yep, Kopitar on the PP with 6 seconds left. 2-1 Kings. Nice. Let’s get this 3rd Period over with.
Score: 2-1 LAK
Shots: 27-20 LAK
Right away the Kings pretty much wrapped this game up. A shot went off the boards behind Howard and an open Adrian Kempe sat at the back post with a wide open net. 3-1 Kings. The goal woke the Red Wings up for the moment as they controlled play early on after the Kings scored. Athanasiou did a nice job to draw a penalty about 4 minutes into the period and the Red Wings really needed to score here. Nyquist again with a chance and again he couldn’t finish. More blocked shots from LA and they killed the penalty. 1st TV timeout with 13 minutes left in what seems to be a hopeless game for the Red Wings.
Right out of the break, Athanasiou rang one off the pipe on a great look in the slot. Really just not the Red Wings night. The Wings continued to pressure and do everything they could to try and at least get one more, but the Kings really locked down defensively as we past the halfway point of the 3rd Period. Just like that Kopitar buried another one on a helluva snipe. That should all but do it folks. 4-1 Kings.
The final 5 minutes or so went as you would expect the final 5 minutes of a 4-1 game to go. The Red Wings had a few looks, but really took their foot of the gas (it may have never been on tonight) and the Kings just looked to kill the clock. That is all she wrote as the Red Wings losing streak reaches 5. This team man, this team.
Score: 4-1 LAK
Shots: 36-23 LAK