Kings try to put win streak together vs. Red Wings
Friday, 12.16.2011 / 2:08 PMKINGS (14-13-4) at RED WINGS (19-10-1)
TV: FS-West (HD), FS-Detroit
Los Angeles 3-6-1; Detroit 7-3-0
Second of four meetings. Pavel Datsyuk started and capped an outburst of four unanswered goals on Nov. 19 as the Red Wings topped the Kings 4-1 in Los Angeles. Datsyuk's first goal came on a power play, as did Niklas Kronwall's game-winner.
One of the more tumultuous weeks in recent memory for the Kings comes to an end with the opportunity to string back-to-back wins together. Terry Murray was fired Monday in Boston with the team about to begin a four-game road trip. They lost the following night under interim coach John Stevens, but got him his first victory on Thursday in Columbus.
The lowest-scoring offense in the NHL hasn't managed more than two goals in 10 games since Thanksgiving, but that was enough to pull out a 2-1 win over the Blue Jackets and snap a five-game losing streak. The Kings pulled it off in come-from-behind fashion, as Jeff Carter snapped a scoreless tie for Columbus with 3:17 left in the second period. Los Angeles answered in the final 20 minutes on goals by Davis Drewiske
at 4:33 and Dustin Brown
at 8:12, while Jonathan Quick
held the fort by making 24 saves.
"It's a great feeling when you break a losing streak," center Anze Kopitar
said. "It wasn't pretty but the effort was definitely there. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how. We got the two points."
It's a quick pit stop at home for Detroit, which heads back out on the road after Saturday for a four-game trip that takes them through western Canada before ending in Nashville. The Red Wings just got done playing the Predators in the Music City and were edged 4-3 on Thursday, snapping their three-game winning streak. Goals by Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom 87 seconds apart in the middle period gave the visitors a 3-1 lead, but they yielded a late goal in the second and a pair by Shea Weber late in the third to fall.
"It's disappointing, especially having the lead going into the third and taking the penalty with less than five minutes left," Lidstrom said. "It always stings when you are losing, especially when you play a division rival that we want to beat."
Kopitar's goal drought reached 10 games Thursday, but he does have an assist in five of the last seven games for the Kings. ... Datsyuk (1-7-8) and Zetterberg (2-4-6) have four-game points streaks active for the Red Wings.
Los Angeles defenseman Willie Mitchell
has missed the past two games due to a groin injury and played only once since Dec. 1, while forwards Mike Richards
(upper body) and Scott Parse
(hip) are on injured reserve. ... Detroit forwards Chris Conner (hand), Jan Mursak (ankle) and Patrick Eaves (jaw) are on injured reserve.
Drewiske's goal was his second in 102 NHL games and first that beat a goaltender -- his previous tally was into an empty net to cap a 6-4 win by the Kings over the Sharks on Oct. 6, 2009. ... Lidstrom has 7 goals in 30 games this season, just slightly off pace to challenge the career-best 20 he scored in the 1999-2000 season. He still figures to easily reach double digits for the 16th time.
While speculation remains Los Angeles GM Dean Lombardi wants to hire Darryl Sutter as his permanent coach, Stevens, who previously guided Philadelphia for parts of four seasons and made the playoffs twice, is doing everything he can to keep his team focused while he holds the interim tag.
"The status doesn't change; it still feels like a win," Stevens said Thursday. "It was just a big win for our team considering this slide we've been on here. The guys played extremely hard tonight."