DETROIT -- Jonathan Quick had approximately 42 hours to stew. Then, he took out his frustrations on the Detroit Red Wings with a masterful performance in goal for the Kings.
Coming off a game in which he made two eye-popping puck-handling errors that led directly to opposition goals, Quick was brilliant in goal as he made a career-best 51 saves in a 5-0 victory over the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
``I don't think I've ever been a part of a game where a goalie stood on his head like that,'' Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. ``It was unbelievable. If we didn't have him back there, I don't think we would have won tonight.''
The Kings scored three goals within the first seven minutes of the third period to break open what was still a tight, could-go-either-way game, but Quick was the 60-minute hero.
Quick nearly single-handedly kept the game scoreless in its first 10 minutes, when the Red Wings buzzed around him and had a handful of quality scoring chances.
Then, after the Kings took a 1-0 lead, Quick came up large in the second period when he helped kill two consecutive Detroit power plays. On his skates, on his knees or flat on the ground, Quick stopped everything that came his way.
The Kings recorded only their second shutout win at Detroit in franchise history. Quick now joins Rogie Vachon, who was in goal for a 4-0 victory over the Red Wings on March 30, 1978.
``Well, it's great to get those saves,'' Quick said, ``but at the end of the day, those two points is all that matters. It felt like one point got away the other night against Minnesota, and it's great to come into this rink (and win).
``It's a tough rink and a great hockey team, and we had some tremendous goal support. The power play was clicking, the PK was clicking and it was a good team win.''
Anze Kopitar had two goals while Wayne Simmonds, Oscar Moller and Jack Johnson had one each, but it was Quick who turned a nail-biter into a surprising route. The Kings are now 4-0-1 in their last five and have a four-game winning streak over the Red Wings, dating to last season.
Kopitar had two goals, and has five goals in his last five games. Doughty, after a 10-game point drought, tied his season high with three assists as the Kings enjoyed a much better feeling than they did in their previous game.
Two nights earlier, in an overtime loss to Minnesota, practically everything went wrong for the Kings. On a frigid night in Detroit, the Kings had everything break their way.
Detroit couldn't score, despite a few chances that looked like certain goals. The Red Wings couldn't score when they had nearly four consecutive minutes of power-play time. They couldn't score when injuries took the Kings down to four defensemen at one point.
``We were doing everything we could there at the end of the third, just playing for him pretty much,'' Johnson said. ``There was nothing on our mind but keeping them from getting a good chance. We were just playing for him.''
The Kings broke out of their recent power-play funk with a third-period power-play goal, and their goals were the result of solid individual skill that, on any other night, would be worth highlighting. But this game belonged to Quick.
``It was huge,'' Doughty said. ``I was actually talking to a couple of the D-men. We got down to four D for half of the third period there. I was talking to them after the game, joking around, saying that I didn't want to be the one to make a mistake and ruin the shutout for him.''
Throughout this season, Quick has been among the NHL's leaders in goals-against average and save percentage, which made what happened to him on Saturday night a bit difficult to believe, even when seeing.
Twice, Quick mishandled pucks, and twice they ended up in his net. Those goals haunted the Kings when they ended up losing 3-2 in overtime.
After the game, as he always does, Quick sat patiently at his locker, answered reporters' questions in a calm tone and took responsibility for the loss. Several times, though, he made a point of saying how much he looked forward to getting to Detroit.
``The way that game ended up, it was a bit disappointing,'' Quick said. ``I was looking forward to getting back out and kind of putting that game in the past and playing another game.''
In sports, there's no better revenge than the next game, and Quick is perhaps the most competitive of all the Kings. A bounce-back performance against the Red Wings was not unexpected, but few could have predicted that Quick would turn in, arguably, the finest performance of his three-year NHL career.
Quick stopped 12 shots in the first period, and eye-popping 26 shots in the second and 12 in the third when the Kings -- minus defensemen Matt Greene and Rob Scuderi -- continued giving a maximum effort to preserve Quick's second shutout of the season.
``He's a very competitive guy,'' Kings coach Terry Murray said. ``He had a tough night the other night, against Minnesota, and you can see how he responds. He really challenges himself. Mentally, emotionally, he brings that talent that he has out when he's focused the way he was tonight.''
The only real concern after the game was the status of Greene, who left the game with an upper-body injury. After the game, Greene said he was fine, and Murray expressed some confusion as to why Greene was out of the game. Murray said he was told that a doctor kept Greene out of the game, even while Greene insisted to Murray that he felt fine.
Scuderi had to leave the game in the third period for stitches after suffering a nasty cut from the high stick of Detroit's Justin Abdelaker.
Before the game, the Kings activated defenseman Willie Mitchell from injured reserve and put forward Brad Richardson (upper-body injury) on injured reserve, retroactive to Dec. 10. Mitchell missed 14 games with a broken wrist and returned to action in a pairing with Johnson.
The Kings were in hold-on-tight mode for most of the first 10 minutes, against the hard-charging Red Wings, but the Kings got on the board first. Jimmy Howard made the save on Greene's shot, but Simmonds picked up the rebound in the slot, spun and shot, and beat Howard five-hole. Alexei Ponikarovsky also got an assist.
The Kings killed nearly four consecutive minutes of penalties, after back-to-back penalties by Alec Martinez, then took a 2-0 lead with 6:21 remaining in the second period. Doughty shot from the blue line, and the puck was deflected by Kyle Clifford before it got to the net. Howard made the stop, but the puck trickled behind him. Moller made a strong move, reaching it to grab the puck and tuck it over the line for his first goal of the season.
Kopitar made a strong play in the first minute of the third period and got rewarded for it, as the Kings took a 3-0 lead. Kopitar won the puck in the neutral zone and pushed it ahead to Justin Williams. Williams fed a perfect backhand pass to Dustin Brown, whose shot was saved, but Kopitar skated it to knock in the rebound 23 seconds into the third period.
Doughty's slap shot helped give the Kings a 4-0 lead 2:59 into the third period. Doughty held the puck at the blue line, on the right side, took a couple strides and fired a high shot toward Howard. Kopitar, running some traffic near the crease, was credited with the tip-in for his second goal of the game, and Doughty got his third assist after a long drought.
``It was obviously pretty frustrating before, not getting many points, so it was about time,'' Doughty said. ``I knew it was going to happen eventually. I just had to stick to my game and play as hard as I could, both defensively and offensively, and it was just a matter of time before tonight happened.''
Three minutes into a four-minute power play, the Kings took a 5-0 lead at the 6:03 mark. Johnson scored on a slap shot from near the top of the left circle, with Ryan Smyth running traffic in front of Howard. Doughty picked up his third assist of the game.
Quick still had to work, significantly, to get the shutout, but the goal support gave him some breathing room and assured the Kings of two points.
``Without him back there, without him playing as well as he can, this team wouldn't be the team we are,'' Doughty said. ``That's why we're so thankful to have Quicker back there. You see what he can do, tonight.''
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Hi stick - double minor