Kings visit Detroit, remind Red Wings they are the peasants of the NHL; Kings 4-2 Red Wings
Detroit’s Once and Future King has returned in Steve Yzerman, but we are still in the first chapter of this story.
After the Wings’ brief flirtation with winning, they made their way back into the L column tonight against the LA Kings, who by beating the Wings managed just their fourth road win of the season. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
The Red Wings opened the game on a power play, more or less, thanks to the Kings botching their first shift and drawing a too-many-men penalty. Unfortunately, because it was the first shift, the Wings had to sit Larkin’s unit since they took the opening faceoff and needed a break, so the first minute or so of the power play looked pretty lousy. Hronek set up Mantha for a nice chance, but his shot was deflected wide so LA ended up being the only team with a shot on the power play.
The Wings gained the zone a couple different times and looked threatening, but a bad pass back to the blue line sent the puck skidding back into the Wings’ zone. Ken and Mick both talked about the Wings battling sickness in the locker room, so maybe that is partially to blame.
Nielsen got the first shot on goal for Detroit about eight minutes in, and you could just see the hesitation as he tried to make the shot. I’m sure that first goal is a million pound weight on his back right now.
Wings got called for hooking, and then the Wings got their second shot on goal, also by Nielsen, on the penalty kill. They killed it off, but only minutes later Hronek tried to make too slick of a pass to jump start the offense behind the red line. He gave the puck away to Cris Aaron Jeff Carter just to Comrie’s right. Comrie stopped the first shot, but Carter gobbled up his own rebound and threw the puck past Comrie’s left arm to make it 1-0 Kings.
The Red Wings got the opportunity to tie it with another power play a few minutes after, but the Wings couldn’t establish themselves in the zone against the Kings’ PK and so they squandered the opportunity.
The Wings would get yet another chance on the man-advantage via a hook against Abdelkader. Mantha and Bertuzzi got a decent chance on a broken play, but no goal, and Bertuzzi got high sticked, which I think was the third such event against the Wings in first period. And yeah, then the Kings’ PK just ate up Detroit’s power play again.
Oh well. The period ended with Erne nearly earning his first goal of the season by Nemeth bouncing the puck off him, but that didn’t come to fruition, either, so the period closed with LA holding the 1-0 advantage.
Score: 1-0 Kings
Shots: 11-7 Kings
Stand Outs: Comrie played pretty decently, if I had to pick.
Forty seconds in the LA Kings scored a second goal off a weird sort-of-rush where Kopitar got a little lucky putting one in off Ericsson’s skate, so 2-0 LA with more than 19 minutes remaining in the period.
Alex Biega then took a stupid hooking penalty to give the Kings a good opportunity to salt the Wings away, basically, because this team has a heck of a trouble digging itself out of three goal deficits. Fortunately Detroit killed it off without consequence. But Bowey wanted to give them another chance, so he cross-checked an LA forward out of the crease.
Detroit killed that one off, too, but LA nearly scored a third if not for a sprawling Comrie, who managed to slide across crease while butterflied out, somehow. I feel like I never convey the play of goaltenders very well in my writing, so I’ll just be blunt and say that I think Comrie was having a pretty good game at least up to this point, with neither goal really resting squarely on his shoulders.
Buuut then he went and gave up a juicy rebound. LA on the rush, Iaffolo fired a shot that Comrie stopped but didn’t get control on the puck. It dribbled out perfectly to Anze Kopitar to deliver him his first multi-goal game of the season, and six straight games against the Wings where he has registered at least a point.
I want to just point out that with five minutes remaining in the second period, the Red Wings had registered just one shot, by none other than Jonathan Ericsson. The second came with about 4:50 left from Luke Glendening.
Zadina very nearly scored one a few moments later though! Campbell had to windmill his legs into the air to make the stop. Green had a nice chance shortly after and finally, with less than four minutes left, the Wings started showing some life in this game. The Wings couldn’t edge themselves any closer though by the end of the period.
Score: 3-0 Kings
Shots: 29-14 Kings
Stand Outs: Nobody, really.
You’d think the Wings would come out buzzing, but they didn’t. Kind of the same as the second period, really.
LA executed on a pre-drawn play, a little tic-tac-toe action to separate the Wings, allowing Toffoli to bury the puck into the open net. 4-0 Kings. Zadina was taken out at center ice to make the whole play possible, and the kid was not happy about the goal.
Which I guess worked out, because Zadina got that one back off a Madison Bowey rebound as the Wings gained the zone on the next shift. 4-1 Kings, but get the comeback parade prepped.
Zadina's 2nd of the season. 👏 pic.twitter.com/xIWtUufbee— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) December 16, 2019
With a little over six minutes left Larkin, Fabbri, and Bertuzzi came over the boards with Hronek and Ericsson, and it’s really bad when you start to have the feeling that, okay, here goes our top players, and they’ll have two or three more shifts tonight, so can they score on each shift? Because faith in the other lines isn’t so great.
And score on their next shift they did, as Bertuzzi fought off multiple checks and passed it back to Bowey, who fired a laser past Campbell to cut LA’s lead down to 2, 4-2 Kings, but even with the extra attacker the Wings couldn’t find a way to get back into this one.
Score: 4-2 Kings
Shots: 32-24 Kings
Stand Outs: Zadina