It was a game in which the Kings fought tooth-and-nail to acquire a late third-period lead, and one that saw Joe Louis Arena’s protective netting take it all away from them in the final seconds.
Tonight wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t impressive, but the Kings battled with an outstanding will to a point of being just 135 seconds away from earning a regulation victory.
Expect tonight’s happenings in Detroit, Michigan to make a permanent mark in the NHL’s rulebook.
After a back-and-forth start to the contest that saw both clubs record eight shots apiece in the first period, the Kings opened up in the second period – firing away on Detroit’s Jimmy Howard with 16 shots.
Mike Richards capitalized on the Kings’ third power play opportunity of the evening, slinging a whistler of a wrister to the top-right corner past Jimmy Howard to give the Kings a 1-0 lead with 10:54 remaining in the second period.
Richards’ goal was his seventh of the season, and his first in 23 games, dating back to November 25 when he last scored against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena in British Columbia.
Richards’ goal was also the Kings’ first power play goal in their last 12 tries.
Detroit would counter just :41 seconds after Richards’ tally to knot the contest 1-1, as Henrik Zetterberg sent home his 15th goal of the season past Jonathan Quick, executing on a wonderful pass from Gustav Nyquist.
Both clubs entered the final period in a 1-1 stalemate.
The Kings struggled to maintain possession and create offensive opportunity in the third period until they were granted a power play with 3:08 remaining in regulation time.
Here, they would snag a late-game lead, while scoring their second power play goal of the contest, after failing to execute on their previous 11 man-advantage opportunities.
Drew Doughty one-timed a slap shot from the point that ricochet off Mike Richards shin-pad onto Jeff Carter’s stick, who slammed home his 18th goal of the season to give the Kings a 2-1 lead with 2:15 left to play.
Then, the unthinkable happened.
As Detroit was scrambling for late magic, with Jimmy Howard pulled from the Red Wings’ net, Niklas Kronwall delivered a slap shot that redirected off of traffic in front of the Kings’ net, up into the safety netting above the glass, and back down – only to bounce off the back of Jonathan Quick and into the net with :26.2 seconds remaining on the game clock.
The play was ruled a good goal on the ice, and after all four referees conjured to assess the awkward play, their call shockingly stood as originally called.
Controversial plays that involve boundary issues are not in the NHL’s guidelines for video review.
The Kings escaped an overtime period that saw Detroit clutch all of the momentum, failing to record a shot, while the Red Wings tallied five – including a couple of golden scoring opportunities.
In the shootout frame, the Kings failed to register a goal. Tomas Tatar’s goal in the first-round proved to be the game-deciding goal. Tatar also recorded the game-winner against the Kings at STAPLES Center on January 11.
The Kings will continue their four-game road trip as they travel to Massachusetts for a matinee affair against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden for a 12:00 puck-drop on Monday. The Kings, who beat Boston 4-2 on January 9, will be seeing the Bruins for the final time this season.
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