Coming into the Game
Both teams came into the game at Little Caesars Arena having played on Saturday night. The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Kings showed mettle in coming back from a two-goal deficit late in the game to earn a point in a shootout loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The back to back meant that former Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier would be backing up ex-Winnipeg Jets goalie Eric Comrie for the Red Wings. As for the Kings, Jack Campbell was in goal, while Nikolai Prokhorkin drew back into the lineup with in place of Matt Luff. Even with Detroit’s victory on Saturday, they had the fewest points in the standings at 21 in 34 games.
Drop the Puck
Although both teams were playing their second games in as many nights in their respective schedules, the Los Angeles Kings looked like the far more energetic team, while the Detroit Red Wings looked like a team four points behind the 30th place team in the NHL, the New Jersey Devils. The Kings put on the first eight shots on goal of the game before the Red Wings registered their first, ten minutes into the game. Detroit did not reach double digits in shots on goal until well into halfway through the entire game.
Prior to that in the first period, the recently assembled “Dad Line” of Jeff Carter, Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford applied relentless pressure on the Red Wings in their defensive zone, forcing a turnover that led to Jeff Carter’s tenth goal of the season to open the scoring:
As the second period started, the Kings didn’t waste their time in doubling their lead, and showing their knack in generating rush chances that they had been for the game. Always looking to set up his teammates, Anze Kopitar’s intended pass to Dustin Brown led to his first goal of the night, and the 918th point of his career with the LA Kings:
While that goal tied Wayne Gretzky for fourth on the all-time franchise list in points, Kopitar’s second goal here, put him ahead of the Great One:
The Kings were rolling all four lines, with each generating opportunities and minimizing the scoring chances from the Red Wings. After two periods, the Kings held a 29 to 14 shots on goal advantage. Before they got there, Jack Campbell had to snuff out Detroit’s hope of getting on the board with a spectacular save:
The game seemed to turn into a laugher, as Tyler Toffoli continued his recent hot streak, finishing off the nifty pass from a returning Nikolai Prokhorkin for a 4-0 lead:
The Red Wings managed to make the score look respectable. They broke Jack Campbell’s shutout bid at 9:51 of the third period when Filip Zadina scored off a rebound from a rush. Detroit defenseman Madison Bowey added a goal late to close out the scoring at 4-2, Kings. But with Los Angeles regaining focus, there was little doubt for them losing the two points for the win at the end of the night.
Outside of the few mental lapses late in the game, the Kings played really well, against a team that is going through its own rebuilding period. The minutes distribution throughout the Kings lineup was a sight to behold, and perhaps an indication of the continued progress in execution of the new structure. A week ago, Los Angeles looked like to be on the verge of eclipsing the franchise record for consecutive road losses in team history, but they have since collected five out of a possible six points in their last three road contests.
Tuesday at 4pm at Boston Bruins, who lead the Atlantic Division by nine points.