The Key Three: Dec. 17
Three key aspects of the Kings' 8-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
1. One team showed up on time
The two teams couldn’t have looked more different in the first couple minutes of the game. The Red Wings played like they were starving, and would be fed only if they scored goals. The Kings played like they had just stuffed themselves on Thanksgiving. The Kings made sloppy passes and looked slow and confused on coverage. Meanwhile, the Red Wings weaved in and out and generated scoring chances almost at will. The Red Wings scored two goals in the first two minutes, and they earned them, as they barely allowed the Kings to touch the puck. Were the Kings distracted by reports of the hiring of new coach Darryl Sutter?
2. Close, but not for long
The Kings were certainly late in arriving to the party, but they did show some life after Detroit’s third goal. After Niklas Kronwall’s goal, the Kings recorded six consecutive shots on goal and got on the scoreboard thanks to Davis Drewiske’s goal. There was some excitement on the ice and on the bench for Drewiske, a defensive defenseman who scored for a second consecutive game. If the Kings could have scored the next goal, to make it a one-goal game, they would have had the Red Wings reeling a bit. Instead, just 1 minute, 20 seconds later, Cody Emmerton scored his second goal of the period and Detroit could relax again.
3. Going in depth
It’s generally accepted that a team’s top players will be a threat every night, but there’s a big difference in a team’s game when the third and fourth lines are able to contribute. There was quite a difference between the Kings and Red Wings in this area. The Kings got contributions from exactly one line -- the Jarret Stoll, Dustin Penner and Justin Williams line -- while the Red Wings were a threat every time they crossed the blue line, no matter which line was on the ice. Detroit got two goals from third-line winger Drew Miller and two goals from fourth-line winger Cory Emmerton. It’s no stretch to say that Detroit’s fourth line outplayed the Kings’ first line.