This doesn't happen every time the Los Angeles Kings face the Detroit Red Wings. Not every game between these two teams features the Kings getting a bunch of shots and losing. But it does happen way too often.
Last night, the Kings got an early 5-on-3 goal and were stymied for the final 45 minutes of the game. Coincidentally, they had 45 shots. Now, quit banging your head against the wall for a minute and read about the game below.
The ironic part of last night's game is that the Kings were pretty fortunate to even get their first-period goal. Sure, they had plenty of chances before, with Mike Richards getting stopped by Jimmy Howard a couple times early on and a couple netmouth scrambles causing trouble. But the goal finally game thanks to a questionable penalty and a questionable non-call. The penalty came when Drew Doughty and Joakim Andersson chased a loose puck on a Kings power play; it looked like nothing in real-time, but the replay did show Andersson using his free hand. Even so, pretty soft call. The Kings converted on the 5-on-3, as Doughty ripped one past Howard. Mike Babcock was doubly angry after that goal, though, because Dustin Brown fell down right in front of Howard and prevented him from making his best effort to stop the puck.
The Wings didn't let the bad break get them down, and Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan helped get them right back to even terms. Tatar grabbed the puck along the boards, drove to the middle, and drew a delayed penalty as he pushed the puck towards Jonathan Quick. Sheahan was able to reach on his backhand and score before the Kings could touch the puck. Quick made a great save on Henrik Zetterberg a couple minutes later to keep the score 1-1 going into the second.
The second period was scoreless. Doughty's goal was another non-top six goal, which is encouraging, but the third line of Mike Richards, Tyler Toffoli, and Matt Frattin still hasn't found the net in a few weeks. Each player had their chances tonight, though. Richards put a whopping eight shots on net, but both power play and even strength looks went begging. Toffoli had four shots on goal himself and nearly snuck a hard bad-angle wrister past Howard in the third. Frattin? He hit the post, in addition to getting stoned on another great scoring chance in the second. Chances are good, but come on guys, give us something.
Anyway, onto the third period we went, and the Kings threw everything they had at Jimmy Howard. Twenty shots on goal produced nothing, and though an end-game flurry padded the shot total, they did get nine of them in the first twelve minutes. The Wings only had four in those twelve minutes, but they were the team that finally broke through for a second goal after an unsuccessful Kings power play. Sheahan came down the ice on a 3-on-2 rush and put a shot which Quick was able to get his leg on. The rebound was short and harmless, but Quick tried to kick it out of his area. Instead, he kicked it right to an uncovered Tatar, and Quick's valiant effort to block the ensuing shot wasn't quite enough to keep it out. Tatar's father passed away in Slovakia Friday, and after scoring, Tatar took off his glove and pointed to the sky.
The injured and inspired Wings were able to hold on from that point forward, and even added a third goal after a brutal Jake Muzzin decision led to a Drew Doughty turnover. Muzzin was being hotly pursued and tried to cut in front of his own net instead of going around back, but he instead wiped out spectacularly thanks to a hit by Luke Glendening. Doughty tried to pick up the puck but was interrupted by a stick lift from Patrick Eaves, and Glendening set up Daniel Cleary for the goal. The Kings then produced an inevitable barrage of shots which inevitably resulted in nothing.
Detroit was shorthanded, playing without both Pavel Datsyuk and Daniel Alfredsson. They also are struggling to even stay in the playoff race in the inferior Eastern Conference. Didn't matter, though, as the Kings couldn't beat Jimmy Howard and gave Detroit just enough chances to win. The Kings will try to end the homestand on a high note when Vancouver comes back on Monday.