Detroit’s success on scoring goals and strong defense helped them maintain dominance at the Joe Louis Arena Friday night. Their seventh straight win over the Los Angeles Kings came on a 3-2 score with Red Wings netminder Petr Mrazek making huge saves from start to finish. The win snapped the Kings three game winning streak and hopes to end their losing in Detroit.
This is the first game between the Kings and the Red Wings this season and for Detroit, they have to keep up their win at home against Los Angeles as they have won the last six straight. When it comes to the season, Detroit has to step things up and hope to do that with Mike Richards and Brendan Smith back in the lineup. Both have been out for different medical reasons but with the defensive pair back in the lineup, it could help stop the LA’s successful road trip.
They went on to beat the Flyers in a shootout with Anze Kopitar getting it done for the lone goal in the game. Milan Lucic has helped the Kings win the last three games on goal scoring, and each time he has scored they have won every game. If Detroit can stop him and the Kings, they might find some solace and control to scoring consistently thereby winning games.
Detroit went right at Kings goaltender Jonas Enroth who got the nod to start the game. A second scoring chance from Gustav Nyquist was stopped by the Kings netminder with the fast glove. Los Angeles worked the puck down low challenging Mrazek. A bad penalty to Detroit put the Kings on the power play but as good as they have been, the Red Wings killed it off with the top unit on ice.
It didn’t stop Los Angeles from outshooting the Red Wings which fans were getting tired of seeing. After allowing 10 shots through twelve and a half minutes, Detroit needed to change things up anyway they could. A power play came their way helping the strong Red Wings power play unit do work. An offensive rush came towards Enroth where Justin Abdelkader took a shot that rebounded to Tomas Tatar. He was on the stick side of the Kings netminder where a small opening gave him time to score his sixth of the season.
“I saw Hank (Zetterberg) hit it and he was coming up the wing and I was just trying to stay inside middle lane drive and get to the net and Abby (Abdelkader) did a great job shooting and it was just laying there for me so it turned out to be a good goal,” said Larkin to Fox Sports Detroit reporter Trevor Thompson.
The second opportunity on the man advantage went horribly wrong as the Kings countered on a steal in their zone making a quick move into the Detroit end. It was Jeff Carter who went in on Mrazek scoring while shorthanded for his eighth. The Red Wings finished off the power play trying to regain control of the score but were fighting a losing battle against the Kings man-to-man coverage. This continued on during even strength where at the sound of the horn, it was the Kings still leading on shots to the net with 14 while the Red Wings worked hard to record 10.
The second period had the two teams playing 4 on 4 for a time before Detroit could return to a full five on ice. When things got back to normal, they worked on the offense and made a play into the Kings zone. Dylan Larkin was with the puck and went behind the net trying to get one like he did once before. Though he was unsuccessful, the puck rebounded forward getting right to Mike Green where the veteran forward scored his first goal as a Red Wing giving them a 2-1 lead. It was Green’s first goal at the Joe since he last scored a goal in the very same arena as a Capital.
Larkin’s efforts in the game paid off as he was rewarded with a great three man play that ended with him scoring on the stick side giving him his seventh this season. It was the first time that Detroit had scored three goals at home and with the show of force would need to contain the Kings.
Los Angeles continued to fight for shots on goal, keeping Mrazek on his skates eyeing every move they made. The Red Wings got a break with Marian Gaborik taking a double minor for his hit on Jonathan Ericsson. First was a two-minute 4 on 4 that the Kings worked in their favor at the end. Carter went in all alone aiming a shot that Mrazek that he got a piece of his glove on but still directed it into the net for Carter’s second of the night.
The Red Wings got their chance to return the two-goal lead but they shot themselves in the foot with Abdelkader getting called for holding Alec Martinez’s stick. Detroit made another kill for the fourth time but still had to deal with the Kings relentless shots that were coming so close. Drew Doughty had a shot on goal that pinged off the post scaring Red Wing fan in attendance.
While they were pressuring severely in the Detroit end, their opponents managed to handle clearing the puck away and tried to get their offense back on track. It wouldn’t arrive in time as the second quickly went into the books with the Kings shooting 16 against the Red Wings. They dominated for a second time on the faceoff dot that was the key to their momentum on possession. With the game closer for them to make a comeback, the third period would be the most critical for the Kings to end their losing streak in Detroit.
The Red Wings opened the third period making sure that they didn’t allow anymore chances to the Kings as they were sitting a goal down from tying the game. Things were dicey through the first half of the game, but it was the Red Wings taking some big hits on their bench. The first to go was Larkin who took a hard fall on the ice writhing in pain from his knee. He made it off the ice on his own but went to the locker room to get checked out.
At the 12-minute mark, Danny DeKeyser took a high stick from Kings captain Dustin Brown that opened him up. He would be stitched up and returned like Larkin urgent to contribute to their team winning the game. There was still five minutes left in regulation and plenty of time for Los Angeles to attack.
Time began to work against the Kings to the point that pulling Enroth would be required. The Red Wings didn’t let them get to that point until there was 55 seconds left. Los Angeles took a dozen shots in those final seconds but terrific coverage along with Mrazek’s big stops helped give them another victory against the Kings and two important points in the standings.
Detroit outshot the Kings in the third period shooting 10 shots on Enroth while remaining composed on defense dealing with eight Kings shots. Mrazek more than deserved the win on the night stopping 35 shots with a .946 save percentage. “It was a tough moment. The guys did a great job around the net,” Mrazek said of his defense. “They were blocking three or four shots there and the two points are huge and they’re great for us.”
Abdelkader and Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg had two assists on the night that was a huge difference to what Detroit had been producing in recent weeks. Larkin recorded his third game winner so far this season with plenty more assured to come.
“Tonight was a big night for us to get two points and to move up in the rankings in what were trying to do here,” said Green to reporters. “Unfortunately we don’t have time to celebrate. We got to make sure we go into St. Louis tomorrow and get a good start and try to steal two points from them.”