So this time around, Detroit scored three goals in the first period...and the Kings did it again.
Michal Handzus had two goals, including the game winner, and an assist to lead Los Angeles to a 4-3 come-from-behind win for the Kings franchise-record ninth straight win.
"We have a lot of confidence right now, and we know that if we stick to our game most nights we will be successful," Handzus said. "We knew we did not play well in the first period. We came out a little flat, and they came to us pretty hard. We decided not to try and hit a home run, we just stuck to our game plan. We just wanted to try and score the first goal and go from there, and then we scored three second-period goals. It is great, and a great comeback for us.
"Parcey [Scott Parse] and Frolov [Alexander Frolov] did a great job. They stayed on the puck and they battled, and they won the battles. They had two shots on one play and I got the rebound, and it was pretty much an empty net, but the credit goes to those two guys."
Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula tallied goals 16 seconds apart midway through the first period and Zetterberg would score his second of the period 4-on-4 in the closing seconds of the opening stanza for a 3-0 lead.
But Los Angeles rallied for three goals in the second period by Alexander Frolov, Handzus' first and Ryan Smyth to tie the score, setting up Handzus' heroics.
The nine-game win streak bettered the mark of eight, set twice in 1991-92 and 1972-73, while the win was the first time the Kings overcame a three-goal deficit to win since March 5, 2009, a 5-4 OT win, also after trailing 3-0.
Zetterberg put Detroit up in the first, taking a great centering pass from Pavel Datsyuk for an easy tap-in goal. Just 16 seconds later, Detroit cycled the puck in front of the Kings net and Filppula scored with the puck deflecting off of Sean O'Donnell's skate for a 2-0 lead.
Zetterberg scored his second with just over a minute remaining in the period. After a mad scramble in front of the Kings net with Matt Greene, Peter Harrold and Jonathan Quick all in the goal mouth, Zetterberg powered home his second of the day. The teams were both skating a man down after Drew Doughty and Jason Williams exchanged penalties.
“We were not executing in the right way," Kings head coach Terry Murray said of his team's start. "We started fine but then when it came to the detailed part of the game we had too many breakdowns like the first Zetterberg goal. That pass goes through three people, and that’s just not being alert to an assignment. Same on the four-on-four faceoff, we have two guys going to the defensemen up at the blue line and again that’s being alert and executing in the right way, but as mentioned you get nine lives and you come back and that’s a hard team to come back against. It’s the second time within a couple weeks now that we’ve done it and it shows a lot of character.”
The Kings made some adjustments at the first intermission, juggling some lines, and the moves appeared to pay off in the second period.
“Had to make some changes on the line combinations going into the second period and I thought Parse stepped up to the Handzus line and made a big play on the goal that we scored early in the second period," Murray said. "Guys just stepped in, they’ve shown to be able to do that throughout the course of the year, and there was a need for it today. Balance scoring, defense starting to get more of the pucks through, I thought at the start of the game we were hesitant, not shooting, hitting the legs, and as the game went on we started to get more pucks to the net and better traffic at the net."
The Kings got on the board 9:16 into the second period when Frolov powered home a rebound to cut the deficit to two goals. Scott Parse took a pass from Handzus and wrapped around the back of the Wings' net and fed Frolov right in front of the Detroit net. Frolov's initial attempt was denied but his rebound effort snuck past Howard and LA cut into the Red Wings lead.
Handzus cut the deficit to 3-2 at 14:47 of the second scoring unassisted and Smyth set the STAPLES Center crowd into a frenzy with his tying goal at 16:21. Smyth, in his typical position right in front of the net, slipped a rebound between the legs of Howard and the Kings came all the way back to set up Handzus' heroics.
"Winning nine games in a row is obviously a franchise record, and I think what’s special about it is that it is a team accomplishment," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "We have not had one or two guys win the games for us. Obviously Quicker [Jonathan Quick] has been really strong in the net for us. When you can get scoring from every line, like we have, it is difficult to play against. When you shut down Kopi [Anze Kopitar] or Zus [Michal Handzus] Stolly [Jarret Stoll] will get a goal, and when you have that going it is hard to play against."
Celebs in the stands: Tim "The Tool Man Taylor," AKA Tim Allen, actor, comedian and Michigan native was spotted in the stands, as was Chris Klein of American Pie fame...The Kings have now won a club record nine games in a row...The club record for most consecutive games with a point is 11 (9-0-2), set in 1973-74 ... The Kings are 11-1-0 in their last 12 games ... The Kings now have 75 points on the season. The only other Kings club to have more points after 58 games was the 1974-75 team (32-11-15 = 79 points) ... The 2009-10 team is the fastest Kings club to reach 36 wins... The last time the Kings trailed by three goals in a game and won was March 5, 2009 vs. Dallas (down 3-0 and won 5-4 in OT) ... The Kings are now 20-8-3 in one-goal games... Michal Handzus (2-1=3) today had his second straight three-point game. He has eight points in the last five games (4-4=8)...He scored his team-leading sixth game-winning goal (the Kings record for GW goals in a season is nine)... Jonathan Quick has won nine straight and is 14-3-0 in his last 17 games... Quick is one win away from tying Mario Lessard for the club record in wins for one season (Lessard had 35 in 1980-81)... Ryan Smyth has points in four straight (2-2=4). He has nine points in the last 10 games (5-4=9)... · Alexander Frolov (1-1=2) today had his second straight multi-point game...Anze Kopitar’s eight-game point streak (which tied a career high) was snapped today. About a minute and a half in, the Kings lost forward Brandon Segal, who was finishing his check in front of the Kings boards and went crashing face first into the top of the boards. Segal retreated to the Kings locker room and would miss about seven minutes for repairs. .. Detroit had to play with out LW Tomas Holmstrom for the second and third periods after a left leg injury and RW Patrick Eaves and LW Drew Miller for the entire third period after suffering ankle injuries.